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Brown Creepers Nesting

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The Brown Creeper is so well camouflaged that there are many people who don’t even know of its existence. This diminutive bird gets its name from its habit of creeping along tree trunks and spiraling upwards while it probes for insects and spiders hidden in bark crevices with its curved, sharp bill.  At this time of year, brown creepers have already made their fibrous nest behind a loose flap of bark on a tree, and the 5 – 6 nestlings are constantly demanding food.  Unlike some species, both adults care for their young.  These photos illustrate how the male goes off and finds an invertebrate, flies back to the nest and gives it to the female, who then disappears behind bark to feed it to her nestlings.

10 responses

  1. Carlene Squires

    What a wonderful sequence! This little bird is gorgeous. Thank you.

    May 8, 2012 at 11:05 am

  2. Susan in NH

    incredible to get to see this! Are the young in a cavity behind the bark or just snug behind the bark? Wonderful!

    May 8, 2012 at 11:20 am

    • Hi Susan,
      It was amazing — there is actually a tiny cup nest tucked between the loose bark and the tree — there’s no cavity in the tree itself. The bark was hanging on by a thread and the nest seemed so vulnerable, but I’m sure the creepers know what they’re doing! It just struck me as a very precarious spot.

      May 8, 2012 at 11:28 am

  3. That is fascinating. I’m surprised predators don’t raid the nest!

    May 8, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    • My exact feelings, Pat, especially as it was only about 5′ from the ground!

      May 8, 2012 at 6:17 pm

  4. Great find, and great shots. My brother has found their nests before, but he nearly lives in the woods and sees all sorts of things I rarely get to see. I always enjoy hearing them sing during sugaring season…

    May 8, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    • I cannot take credit for finding this nest! I wish!

      May 8, 2012 at 10:51 pm

  5. Is this a typical nest site? Do they target certain trees for their nests?

    May 9, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    • Brown Creepers usually choose large, dead or dying trees, although occasionally they do build behind the loose bark of living trees. They prefer dense tree stands, and use a variety of both coniferous and deciduous trees. This nest was built in a typical spot, just a few feet lower than the average Brown Creeper nest.

      May 9, 2012 at 3:43 pm

  6. There’s such a gulf between looking and seeing, your blog narrows that gap. Thank you!

    May 15, 2012 at 1:20 pm

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