crisp brown leaf, wind-blown
flake of bark, falling from tree
nope, wrong: brown creeper
The diminutive Brown Creeper (Certhia americana) is notorious for being unobtrusive. Even the creeper’s sweet, clear, musical song can be frustratingly difficult to hear due to its high pitch. Although creepers busily hunt for tiny insects and spider eggs hidden in the crevices of tree trunks and branches, they are difficult to locate, blending in harmoniously with the substrates on which they forage.
I remember my first up-close encounter with a creeper, as a young girl. One hit our window, and for a short minute, I held the temporarily stunned bird in my cupped hand. How could plumage, painted from such a monochromatic palette, be so achingly jewel-like and gorgeous? My contemplation was brief, as the bird hastened from my hand and disappeared. Everafter, whenever I discovered a creeper on a tree, nearly indistiguishable from ordinary bark, I wondered: Had I imagined the exquisite beauty? But, no. Nature imitating nature often brings us the most surprising and creative examples of her artistry, frequently in small packages like the delicate Brown Creeper.
Photo by Cindy Mead of Woodsong Nature Photography.