Connecticut Audubon Bird Finder for January 24: Brown Creeper
Where to find it: Brown Creepers are found throughout Connecticut in mature woodlands. In the winter, they frequent deciduous forests, often in with mixed flocks of chickadees and titmice. Their main diet consists of insects and larvae that they probe out of deep grooved bark. The deeper grooves hold more insects and eggs. Brown Creepers typically feed by “creeping” up and around the trunks of large trees and then dropping to the base of a nearby tree and starting over (White-breasted Nuthatches, by contrast, often feed by climbing down tree trunks, head first). They will also visit suet feeders in winter, often picking up the small pieces that have fallen at the base of the tree. In breeding season, conifer and mixed conifer forests are their preferred nesting habitat; they build their nests behind a loose piece of bark.
How to find it: At our Pomfret sanctuary, hike the Golden Hill Trail off Wrights Crossing road, particularly in the forested section. Walk along Needles Eye Road, scanning the large trees for movement along the tree trunks. Brown Creepers have also been seen recently at Mondo Ponds, in Milford; East Rock Park, in New Haven; and Amos Lake, in Preston. Listening for their high pitch call note is the best way to find them. They can be very difficult to find.
What it looks like: Brown Creepers have brown upperparts and white underparts, with a buffy eye stripe. They are smaller than a nuthatch with similar behavior. Their bills are slender and de-curved. Their tails are stiff angled towards the trunk of the tree.
What if the bird isn’t there? While walking along Needles Eye Road check the few hemlock and white pine trees for roosting Barred Owls; they sometimes can be observed there. Pileated Woodpeckers are often heard calling and observed along the Golden Hill Trail and Needles Eye Road. If you park at the nature center, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers can be found in the large Norway Maple at the trail head on Day Road heading towards Needles Eye Road. Bluebirds, American Tree Sparrows, Red-tailed Hawks, and mixed songbird flocks can be observed along any of the trails.
Conservation status: Least concern.