Monday, November 11, 2013

Brown Creeper

Brown Creepers breed from Alaska, and southern Canada, south to the northern United States and through the Rocky Mountains to Mexico and Central America. They winter across much of North America. Here in the southern half of Minnesota, they are often abundant migrants and common winter residents. Elsewhere, populations have declined as mature forests are logged and dead trees cleared.

We banded this creeper among a flock of Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned kinglets. This photo is one of the few in this blog that is heavily photoshopped (to erase my hand from the picture, but leaving the bird mysteriously floating in space). My goal here was to show you how this often-considered to be drab bird is actually quite elegant. When they are abundant in our back woods and as they furtively creep up forest tree trunks, Erika often calls these brownish birds "tree lice." But look closely at the checkered wing patches and the rusty rump!

Small birds like creepers and kinglets often struggle to maintain their body heat during frigid Minnesota winters. During cold spells, creepers roost in tree cavities and often roost in tight masses of 20 or more individuals behind loose pieces of tree bark (Paul and Bernice Noll).

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