Monday, November 17, 2008

Life bird: Brown Creeper

This past weekend, while watching/counting birds for Project Feederwatch, I added a new bird to my Life List: the Brown Creeper.

[photo removed after reading Cornell's photo copyright statement, which says: "Every photograph found on All About Birds is copyrighted material and may not be downloaded, copied, archived, modified, or used for any reason, including posting on personal or other web sites, without permission of the photographer." As a photographer myself, I know I would not want anyone using my photo without permission, so I must respect their request.]
photo borrowed from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds pages

I really wanted to get my own picture of it, but every time I grabbed the camera it would fly away.

The first thing that alerted me to this little cutie was a bird sound that I had not heard before. Over the years I've gotten pretty familiar with the vocalizations of our "standard" feeder birds (chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, cardinals, goldfinches, etc.), so I knew the sound I was hearing (a kind of high-pitched "seeeee") was not coming from one of our usual visitors. I turned toward where the sound was coming from, and it took me a few seconds to catch the movement of this very well-camouflaged bird hitching its way up a tree. At first I thought it was a wren of some sort, but as soon as I saw it move a little bit more, in a manner that reminded me of a nuthatch, I thought "Oooh, that's a creeper of some sort. Maybe a Brown Creeper?" A quick glance at my Peterson's guide confirmed my suspicions. It's really cool (and rewarding) to be able to put the pieces together like this and make the ID.

Listening is key in birding, and I continue to work on my bird "ears". They have cued me in on multiple occasions when I otherwise wouldn't have known a bird was even around. They cued me in to seeing my first Great-crested Flycatcher this summer, and they also cued me in to a huge flock of Cedar Waxwings when I was taking a walk in town at lunch today.

Now, will those Waxwings be in the same place tomorrow, to allow me to get a picture or 2? We shall see.


nina said...

Don't feel bad about not getting the Creeper picture.
We have one that spirals around our tree, just feet from the window.
Between his constant motion and brief stay, I never get a chance!

RuthieJ said...

Brown creepers are cool little birds. How neat that you see them right in your own backyard! The only time I see them is when I'm out in the woods on my deerstand. Like you, I hear them first.

NW Nature Nut said...

Every time I try to photograph them the low light conditions make the photos blurry and grainy...not to mention they are constantly moving. Keep trying! I will check back to see if you catch him.

Heather said...

I'm not holding my breath that I'll ever see the Creeper again, but hopefully if and when I do, I'll have my camera in-hand, the lighting will be perfect, it will land 2 feet in front of me, and it will hold still for 5.5 seconds so I can get the durn photo!