Monday, April 19, 2010

Brown Creeper Caper

"Little brown bird?" "What little brown bird, where?" "It's right there, right there on that Oak tree, Officer." This five inch long bird is a Brown Creeper. It's in the same family as Nuthatches. Prior to yesterday, I had only ever seen one dead. I was standing around Center Pond in Phippsburg photographing the abundance of warblers that had suddenly appeared on the pond margin. As it turns out, Brown Creepers often mingle with flocks of other small birds when they aren't breeding. There were a lot of Chickadees, Eastern Phoebes, Yellow-rumped (myrtle) and Palm warblers in the trees singing and flitting everywhere. Brown Creepers are hard to see. They are really well camouflaged against tree bark. I was behind our town hall and down an embankment. The town hall is where our sole police officer has an office. Thankfully, it was Sunday and so no one was there. Had they been, they would have come after me with a big butterfly net for sure! I was wildly pointing my camera, flailing the long lens with the movements I was seeing in the trees and mumbling to myself. There were so many Brown Creepers in the stand of trees where I was lurking that they almost looked like tree lice as they travelled from the ground up the length of the trees before flying off to the next one. You can see from the sharp, curved bill and long toes that they are well adapted to picking bugs out of the bark as they climb.
You can barely see the bird on this tree at all. I saw at least ten of them. We have Brown Creepers here all winter long, or at least, so I'm told. I've never seen nor heard them. There is an influx of them from the north in the the spring. April is when they mate. What I saw yesterday was a full blown invasion, a congregation of creepers!
For more information on Brown Creepers, click on these links. Wikipedia has a video clip from Biddeford, Maine of a Brown Creeper spiralling up a tree as it forages. There are also a couple of audio clips on these links for the birds call if are dying to increase your Creeper I.Q.

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1 comment:

  1. Jeepers Creepers...perfect camouflage!
    Cute birds!