The Brown Creeper

February 2, 2016

brown creeperBObStyThe Brown Creeper is one of the earliest migrants in the first weeks of spring at Mount Auburn, but don’t look for them out on a branch. This bird feeds on tree trunks and is well camouflaged as its plumage resembles the bark of a tree. Its protective coloring, as well as being a quiet and a solitary bird, can easily escape detection from the birder. Often you can find one in the company of feeding chickadees and nuthatches, but there seems to be no close association other than feeding together.

A group of creepers, if you ever see a group is called a “spiral” of creepers. The behavior of the creeper is unique, beginning at the bottom of a tree the Brown Creeper slowly climbs upward in a spiral as it methodically searches for insects, their eggs and larvae, and once the creeper reaches the top, it flies down to the base of the next tree and repeats the spiral. It’s easy for the creeper to climb trees; they have a long stiff tail similar to woodpeckers which makes it easy to brace them to the trunk.

They can be seen anywhere at Mount Auburn, though Consecration Dell is more like the areas where these birds breed; they build their nests into crevices of tree trunks usually where the bark is loose. They have a pretty powerful song for such a small bird. Frank Bolles, an ornithologist from Arlington, said in 1891 : “While watching and admiring these gay survivors of the winter [two butterflies and a moth], we heard a Brown Creeper sing. It was a rare treat. The song is singularly strong, full of meaning and charm, especially when the size of its tiny performer is remembered.”

About the Author: Bob Stymeist

Bob Stymeist is Bird Observer’s Bird Sightings Compiler and a regular bird walk leader for the Friends of Mount Auburn.

View all posts by Bob Stymeist →

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