Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"A small, 5 inch, mouse-like bird..."

...so starts the description of the sweet little Brown Creeper in my "Teach -Me About Birds Flash Cards, in full color (by Renwal Products, Inc.)." I remember the words "mouse-like bird" from the first time I read them in 1968, the year my mom and dad gave me the flash cards, but I wouldn't see the bird on a tree for years to come...not until I was an adult and learned how to narrow in on it by listening to its soft, seeping call.

I always hear Brown Creepers before I see them...and I always get happy when I hear them because they are just so darn cute!

It really is a mouse-like bird the way it creeps and crawls as it spirals up the tree looking under bark for insects to eat.

This is one of four Brown Creepers I found the Sunday before last along the Little Miami River. I was almost at the end of my walk and very close to the Kings Powder Factory when I heard that tiny, tiny call and soon four came into view.

...what are you doing in this batch of photos nuthatch? Trying to act like a Brown Creeper? You're supposed to go down the tree while the creepers go up!

...the description on the flash cards for the Brown Creeper really should have read, "a small, 5 inch, BARK-like bird," because that's what it is--a moving piece of bark that's hard to see!

31 comments:

Montanagirl said...

Excellent photos, Kelly! I've seen then once or twice here, but not very often. You did a great job capturing this cute little guy. The Nuthatch is a nice catch too.

Elaine said...

I can see why you didn't see one of these Creepers for so long. They would be extremely hard to see on the bark of a tree! Lovely post of a very sweet little bird. I like the little Nuthatch that was trying to confuse things.

Grizz………… said...

I see a creeper every now and then here along the river—not quite often enough to become blasé, though. Neat little birds. Tough to spot against certain bark patterns.

Really great shots!

Susan said...

I love little Brown Creepers! Maybe because they're always working so hard, and it's all up hill, er, tree. I had the amazing experience of holding one last year at Pt. Pelee as it was taken from a mist net for banding...they're teeeeeny little things!Definitely feather weights.

Steve Borichevsky said...

Same here, I usually hear 'em before I see 'em. Wonder shots. They are NOT easy to shoot!

grammie g said...

Hi Kelly...Nice photos of the bark blender lol
Amazing little guys which I don't think we have here or at least I have never seen one!!
I like the way he just hugs right in on the bark to almost being invisible!!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Kelly, That is why the little Brown Creepers are so hard to see. They blend into the bark of the tree.... Great pictures of the little guys--including the Nuthatch!!!!
Hugs,
Betsy

Kelly said...

Mona...thanks!

Elaine...truly...I don't see them unless I hear them, and then I have to stand there and locate the sound, then all of a sudden they pop into view and there's usually at least 2-4.

Grizz...This winter I've seen them much more often along the Little Miami Trail. I don't know if it's because I've trained myself to listen and know the spots I usually see them, or if there really are more living there now. I'm thinking it's me always listening for them now. I usually see them when I head up to Fort Ancient too...on the Mound Trail and in the pines past the meadow by the road (if you ever make it to Fort Ancient).

Susan...oh my gosh...they are so tiny it must have been wonderful to hold one!! Pt. Pelee...yum! I'd love to go there some day.

Steve...thanks! I have about 30 other shots that are terrible. I find it hard to photograph them also...they are so fast and so blend-able!

Grammie...haha! I like Bark Blender...perfect! They make a tiny little peepy, seepy sound. It's very pretty...listen for that...

Betsy...thanks! They were definitely blessed in the camouflage department!! :-)

Together We Save said...

Wonderful pictures.

Linda said...

Hi Kelly, thanks for sharing your beautiful birds! I love the bark texture, tilt of the bird's head and softened background...Great color and contrast...They are beauties..First time for me to see a Creeper, very exciting...Enjoy an early Spring, cheers, Linda

Roy said...

Treecreepers are so difficult to photograph Kelly, but you caught this well very well.

Kerri said...

EXCELLENT! I LOVE those birds!

Jayne said...

I've never seen one, and I can SEE why! He really does simply disappear into the tree bark.

ShySongbird said...

Excellent photos Kelly! I love Treecreepers but they are so difficult to photograph. I think their camouflage is just incredible, Nature really is awesome :)

Roy said...

Great shots, Kelly! I still haven't managed to get any good shots of Brown Creepers, another small bird that never stops moving. I consider myself lucky to have gotten those Nuthatch shots two years ago!

Wanda..... said...

First time I saw one, I didn't know what I was looking at!

holdingmoments said...

Excellent captures Kelly. Like others have said, they are difficult to capture.

Laure Ferlita said...

What expert camouflage! I always thought that when a creature had that type of camouflage it was to protect them from predators.....which makes me wonder what or who(m?) the predator is in this case?

Awesome pics, love that last one!

Carol Mattingly said...

Love this post Kelly. I love these little birds and have never seen one before. Should I be looking for it? I always keep check of what you're up to whether it's beautiful natural images or beautiful watercolors. Carol

Warren Baker said...

I envy the light you've got there Kelly!!

It's so dull here.

Your photo's are excellent, especially knowing how hard it is to photograph Creepers :-)

Dave said...

Love your Brown Creeper!

Kelly said...

Together...thank you!

Linda...thank you!! I hope we have an early spring...I'll even take an on-time spring, just so it's not late!! :-)

Roy...thank you. You should see all the shots I took that didn't work out! I've had several outings with lots of photos and none of them were good. I have troubles with them too, but lucked out with this batch.

Kerri...thank you!! :-)

Jayne...you really have to hear them first, then zoom in on their call. At least that's what I have to do!!

Songbird...Nature is awesome...they have some of the best camouflage out there! They are so sweet too...just like your Treecreepers!

Roy...I know just what you mean. I was lucky with this batch. The sun actually came out for about 30 minutes and that's when they appeared...I have other shots that were too dark...thanks!!

Wanda...I only knew because of those flash cards my parents gave me when i was a kid. I loved those cards and really learned my birds from them.

Thanks, Keith!! :-)

Laure...I guess all the birds have to fear hawks...and if it's near dusk...owls!

Carol...definitely. If you're in the woods just listen for a very soft peeping...seeping sound. They talk a lot. When you hear that eventually you'll see them flitting around. They usually dive to the base of a tree and then spiral their way up. That's something to look for also...that dive down to the next tree.

Warren...thank you!! I was lucky with the light. It came out for about 30 minutes and lit up the little imps. Most of my photos of them were dark and blurry...the Force came through with these.

Thanks, Loopy!! :-)

Randy Emmitt said...

Kelly,
We have been getting Brown Creepers at the suet feeder on the trunk of our big oak tree. They visit many times each day. I never hear their calls, I'll have to work on that one.

I have pleasant memories of canoeing, fishing and walking along the Little Miami River when I was much younger.

Kelly said...

Randy...you're so lucky to have Brown Creepers in your yard!! Just listen for them. You will love their little calls. You probably canoed with Morgans on the Little Miami. We need to do that this summer!!

Beyond My Garden said...

Endearing birds. I always think "brown creeper goes up, nuthatch goes down." I don't think nuthatches read the books.
nellie

Kelly said...

Hahaha...Nellie...I don't think they do either! :-)

Frank said...

'Mouse like" ... very appropriate and one of the best camouflage merchants in the bird world (well apart from Bittern hidden in reeds!). Cracking images Kelly.

Note to self ... must try harder with our version...if I get a chance!

Robin Robinson said...

Terrific Brown creeper shots! I'm envious as I've never been able to get good shots of them. As you have done here, they really need to be shot in profile. May I ask what exposures you used? Wish me luck, maybe this spring I'll get some images as good as yours.

Kelly said...

Frank...thanks! I have tons of shots of Brown Creepers that are poor...and even with these I'd like the eye to twinkle a little... More often than not my creeper photos fail to inspire me!!

Robin...thank you! ISO 250 (the sun actually came out for 30 mins or so!), Aperture f/5.6, shutter 1/125 (400mm, 200mm lens with a 2x extender, then cropped down).

Mary said...

What super photos of a hard to capture bird...you saw 4 of them??? Wow! The one that comes to my house knows exactly what tree he blends into, if he didn't move, I would never see him!

Hilke Breder said...

Kelly, I must have missed this post. Robin Robinson said you had very good pictures of the Brown Creeper and she is right! Looking at the back feathers in all photos that I have seen they look out of focus, but they really are in focus, just a peculiarity of the bird.