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Posts Tagged ‘brown creeper’

Can you spot the bird in this photo? Its white underparts help to give away its position, but otherwise the Brown Creeper (Certhia americana) is pretty well camouflaged. I rarely see these little birds (about 5 inches (13 cm) long) because they blend in so well and are constantly in motion, poking and probing as they spiral their way to the top of the trees.

I really like the way that the Cornell Lab of Ornithology describes these small birds—”Brown Creepers are tiny woodland birds with an affinity for the biggest trees they can find. Look for these little, long-tailed scraps of brown and white spiraling up stout trunks and main branches, sometimes passing downward-facing nuthatches along the way. They probe into crevices and pick at loose bark with their slender, downcurved bills, and build their hammock-shaped nests behind peeling flakes of bark. Their piercing calls can make it much easier to find this hard-to-see but common species.”

I spotted the Brown Creeper this past Tuesday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge early in the morning when the light had a golden tinge that made everything look particularly beautiful. I tried to track the bird as it made its way up the tree and took quite a few photos. This is one of the few in which I got a relatively clear view of the entire bird, including its stiff tail that it uses for support.

Brown Creeper

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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This Brown Creeper (Certhia americana) blended in so perfectly with the tree bark yesterday morning at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge that I don’t think I would have spotted it if it had not been moving. Brown Creepers are small in size, 4.7-5.5 inches in length (12-14 cm) and 0.2-0.3 ounces in weight (10-15 grams, and are in motion almost continuously, which makes them pretty tough to photograph.

If you click on the photos below, you can see some of the cool details of this little bird, like its large feet that aid stability and its slender, curved bill used to probe for bugs in and under the bark.


Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Brown Creepers (Certhia americana) are tough to photograph as they spiral their way up tree trunks, so I was thrilled when I managed to get a mostly unobscured shot of one of these little birds on Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

How small are Brown Creepers? According to information on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website, Brown Creepers are 4.7 to 5.5 inches in length (12 to 14 cm) and weigh 0.2 to 0.3 ounces (5 to 10 grams). For the sake of comparison, the birds that I featured yesterday, Bald Eagles, are 27.9 to 37.8 inches in length (71 to 96 cm) and weigh 105.8 to 222.2 ounces (3000 to 6300 grams).

Brown Creeper

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I was quite excited on Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildife Refuge when this Brown Creeper (Certhia americana) finally let me get a relatively unobstructed shot of it. I had spent quite a while trying to track it as it climbed up and around several trees in a kind of corkscrew pattern.

In the past I have seen this elusive little bird several times, but as far as I know, this is the first time that I have ever gotten a shot of one. The Brown Creeper moves in a pattern that is not at all like any other bird that I have observed. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology website provides the following description of this behavior:

“The Brown Creeper spends most of its time spiraling up tree trunks in search of insects. It holds its short legs on either side of its body, with the long, curved claws hooking into the bark, and braces itself with its long, stiff tail. Both feet hop at the same time, making the bird’s head duck after each hop. Because of its specialized anatomy, the Brown Creeper rarely climbs downward: once high in a tree, it flies down to begin a new ascent at the base of a nearby tree.”

I am happy with this shot, though I must confess that I get a little dizzy if I look at it too long.

Brown Creeper

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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