Wildlife
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Bird Watch: Brown Creeper

By Brian M. Collins
Published: February 1, 2009
BIRDBrown-Creeper-2
Brian M. Collins
The brown creeper, a tiny, sturdy and industrious bird, makes its winter home throughout almost all of the United States. Camouflaged like tree bark, the brown creeper earns its name by creeping upward along the trunks of many trees in search of inconspicuous hibernating insects.

In the summer, the nest of the brown creeper is constructed within a dead tree of a very specific condition. Nest trees must have “slip bark” that has loosened its grip on a dead tree and is, perhaps, a year from completely falling away. This bark hangs on like a loose sleeve around the rotting wood.

Brown creepers sneak beneath the layer of bark and build a nest of wood chips, moss, fibers and feathers. In this precarious nest of pulpy fibers, the brown creeper incubates ghostly white eggs.

The call of the brown creeper is a high, thin, slightly slurred frail note. The song is a cheerful, albeit weak series of descending melodic notes. With some careful searching or a little luck, discovering this tiny bird may add cheer to the chill of winter days.
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