What goes up…
Here, you can read about the Red Breasted Nuthatch. Nuthatches are unique in that they are almost always crawling DOWN tree trunks headfirst in search of insects and other goodies jammed in the tree bark. But they miss stuff that you can only see when you go UP the tree.
Enter the Brown Creeper. This bird does the exact same thing as the Nuthatch, but does so exclusively by climbing in spirals UP trees, enabling him to use his curved bill to get stuff that Nuthatches miss. That two totally unrelated birds – the Nuthatch is one family of birds, the Creeper a separate family – have such similar but non-competitive food strategies is amazing to us.
Brown Creepers are remarkably well camouflaged, and we suspect far more plentiful than most people think for that reason. When frightened, they flatten themselves against a tree and stop moving, becoming almost invisible. Often when we see a Creeper, it’s because we noticed what we thought was tree bark moving.
After climbing a tree, they flit down to the base of the next tree. Even that’s camouflaged; their flight down looks, for all intents and purposes, like a falling leaf. But why they are so well camouflaged is a mystery; they’re not particularly heavily predated.
Small bird, small energy needs
Creepers burn less than 10 calories per day; one spider gives them enough energy to climb about 200 vertical feet of tree. They don’t live long; the oldest ever recorded was 5½ years old. They can migrate but tend to hang around K-Country in the winter, sometimes just wintering in valley bottoms.
They build unique nests; a bit like a hammock, suspended from two parts of a crevice or hole in a dead or dying tree. They almost always have two openings to get into and out of the nest. Just like the way they eat, they crawl up to get in and continue to crawl up to get out. They’ll lay 5-6 small eggs in late spring, which hatch in 2 weeks and the babies fledge 2 weeks after that.