American Treecreeper

As a creature of the woodlands, forests, and mountains, chances are good that if you live in Canada or just about any U.S. state, you’ve probably encountered an American Treecreeper–but you may not have realized it! The American Treecreeper (or Brown Creeper) is an avian king of camouflage. The streaky brown plumage of this tiny but extremely active songbird–who more often creeps up and down the bark of trees than flies–makes it a difficult to spot, never mind photograph at close range.

© WHSIM American Treecreeper (full).jpg
No need to ask Where’s Waldo? Third time’s the charm for me with this conservative dresser!
f/6.3, 1/400, 500mm, ISO 400

I had been trying to photograph the restless Red-Breasted Nuthatch (itself a creature who has been rather scarce this spring, and, by coincidence, a bird that the American Treecreeper also resembles in size, shape, and choice of locomotion), at the local wildlife refuge when my first subject darted off and a small brown blur suddenly flew astonishingly close to replace the former on the vacated tree on my right. I had three seconds to shoot two frames of this insectivore, who had already secured its midday meal, a rather bulbous spider, on its bill. Photographed on May 26 at the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Learn more about this solitary bird by visiting its Cornell Lab of Ornithology profile.

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