Golden-crowned Kinglet - Regulus satrapa
We've had a guest staying with us for the last week: artist Aaron Horkey. He and Jay are working on a collaborative print together, which is very exciting. Last Thursday, both Jay and Aaron came with me to the Field Museum. Aaron wanted to check out shrike specimens as research for another project of his, and then go view the Mammoth exhibit with Jay while I worked up in the prep lab. Dave (Willard) was kind enough to give Aaron access to the Loggerhead and Northern Shrike specimens, and Aaron spent a good portion of the day drawing from them. For my part, I worked on making study skins of two birds Dave had taken out of the freezer: Golden-crowned Kinglet, and a Brown Creeper. Both specimens were interesting and valuable for different reasons. Kinglets are tiny, insectivores that favor coniferous forests at northern latitudes. They are coming through the Chicago area right about now, and occasionally we have some window kills that make it in to the lab. The particular kinglet that I worked on last week was unique for its crown coloring. Golden-crowned kinglets have a bright slash of orange/yellow on the top of their heads. It usually tends towards the orange end of the color spectrum. This one that Dave gave me to work on had a crown that was almost a white-ish yellow. It's sad that the little fellow crossed my path in the lab, but having a color variation like that is a very important source of scientific data, and a valuable addition to the collections. I'll post about the Brown Creeper a bit later.