Bird of the Week


2019/01/bird-of-the-week-creeper-300-300x225.jpg Photo courtesy Charles Martinez

This week’s Bird of the Week, compliments of the Weminuche Audubon Society and Audubon Rockies, is the brown creeper.

This tiny bird is common in mature, coniferous forests, but is so well camouflaged that it often goes unnoticed. It’s brown back streaked with light and dark tones resembles the bark of a tree. The creeper’s defense against predators, spreading motionless and flat against a tree, is a disappearing act. It’s white belly is hidden against the tree trunk.

Unlike nuthatches that move headfirst down the tree, creepers seek out insects, eggs, larvae and spiders by spiraling up the trunk. They use their long, slender, downcurved bills to probe the crevices in the bark, and their long, stiff tails for balance. After reaching the top of a tree, a creeper will fly down to the base of another and begin its upward journey again.

In winter when insects are scarce, creepers will add seeds to their diet and come to suet and sunflower feeders. They are also more likely to join mixed-species flocks and roost with other creepers in winter.

Brown creepers require large, live trees for foraging insects near dead or dying loose-barked trees for nesting. The female builds her small, tightly woven nest hidden between the bark and the trunk of a tree. After logging operations, the brown creeper is an indicator species used to determine if the forest has remained healthy.

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