Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Brown Creeper

I have been observing more Brown Creepers this winter than I have ever before. I had two in my backyard about a month ago, and on our walk at Two Moon Park last weekend I observed at least 4 and heard another. Of course, I really don't have a good idea of how many are expected here each winter, but either way it has given me a good chance to observe these little bark climbers better than before.

I love to watch their frenetic wanderings up the boles of larger trees, prying into crevices in the bark with their dental pick-like bill, only to drop down to the base of a neighboring tree to start again. The name "creeper" suggests a slow and slinky bird.  Spiderhunter would be appropriate I think, but it is already taken by another group of birds so I guess Brown Creeper it will be.
They forage so close to the trunk and their plumage blends in so well with the tree bark that it would be next to impossible to find them if they weren't moving, but fortunately they don't slow down much.

Well, it is fortunate for finding them anyway- photographing them is another matter. I have a lot of blurry photos that suggest a chunk of bark falling off the tree. I was able to get a few photos when this guy wasn't moving much though.

Below is a closer view of the last image above. If you look close you can see a small insect in the middle of it's bill. Check out the second image above too. You can see the fine, needle-like tongue he uses to pry out insects.

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