Monday Bird of the Week No.11 – The Treecreeper

We had many reasons for buying our house in York (nearly a year ago now). Many were valid, sensible things based on the state of the roof, or the number of bedrooms. The normal stuff. But there were some less rational reasons. Like the Treecreeper we saw outside the house the first time we saw it*.

Resting on the tale, stuck out from the side of a tree, brown back, white belly York, March 2014

Resting on the tail, stuck out from the side of a tree, brown back, white belly… distinctive Treecreeper
York, March 2014

I’ve always loved the Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris). They have a wonderful habit of popping out at close range, at eye-level, before disappearing on up the tree. As such, you can get some great views.

There’s a key aspect of what I just said there: “up the tree”. Up. Not down. Treecreepers cannot climb back down. They behave like no other bird you will see, scaling up and around a tree, then flying down and across to the next. They might manage a little downwards movement if going along the underside of a branch, but mainly it’s just up, up, up.

Scaling the right side of the tree York, March 2014

Scaling the right side of the tree
York, March 2014

This could all make them very obvious, but unlike the showier woodpeckers and nuthatches that have similar behaviour, the tiny Treecreeper has quite exceptional camouflage. As you can see here:

Spot the bird...

Spot the bird…

SONY DSC

Can you see him?

They are remarkable little workers, climbing as much as 2500m a day (which means in a week they scale greater than the height of Mount Everest!). They power themselves by eating tiny insects from the surface, and just into the bark, of trees.

There was at least one pair flitting about, so I’ll be keeping an eye out to see if I can find a nest site too.

Time to move tree

Time to move tree

* A word of warning, don’t just buy a house based on availability of wildlife

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2 Responses to Monday Bird of the Week No.11 – The Treecreeper

  1. Pingback: Wild birds and tame birds (with Treecreeper video) | Why watch wildlife?

  2. Pingback: The sights and sounds of an English wood, New Earswick May 2016 | Why watch wildlife?

I welcome thoughts, comments and questions, so please feel free to share anything at all. Thanks, David

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