Brown Creeper, a look-alike for a piece of tree bark

Though Brown Creepers are found seasonally throughout most of the lower 48 states, much of Canada and even southern sections of Alaska they often go unnoticed as they are inconspicuous birds–small (less than 6 inches long), brown and streaked with buff (tan) so they blend in well with the bark of the trees on which they are found.

These little birds are seen climbing up trees (while nuthatches climb down them), stopping to use their long, thin and downwardly-curved beak to probe around the bark as they “search for small insects and spiders by hitching upward in a spiral around tree trunks and limbs”.  They are often first noticed by their very high pitched calls-that is how I usually become aware they are nearby.  Listen to their calls and song on this Audubon Birds webpage.

The bottom photo shows their spine-tipped tails, a feature that they use to assist them as they maneuver around and up a tree. I think the pattern of feathering on their backs is most attractive with buff edges and tips that highlight their brownish feathers. Brown Creepers can be attracted to your yard with peanut butter and suet and even seed-but only if you have trees in and around your yard. I have had them visit my yard a few times-I have 2 mature Blue Spruce, 2 mature pine and various deciduous trees in my back yard plus I live a short distance from a riparian forest.

I bet some readers have visits from Brown Creepers in their yards–please do share your experiences.

  1. Deborah says

    We DO have many trees in our backyard. Occasionally when looking from my back-slider, I will spot a Brown Creeper
    climbing up and around a large oak tree in the back yard. Though not, a frequent visitor.
    I live on the cooastal side of MA.

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