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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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