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Brief Encounters

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper roosting
by Laura Erickson

Some birds blend so perfectly into their surroundings that they are hard to pick out, like this roosting Brown Creeper. Even if a birder carefully scanned every visible tree trunk, this bird would be easy to miss!

How did photographer Kevin Byron discover it? He writes, “This is the second year that I have seen a creeper using this same roost. I first photographed one in the exact same spot in March 2006, which means the location has been used for a long time! Today (February 20, 2009) I watched the bird fly to it around 3:30 p.m. and then snuggle upward and into the hollow area. Since the tree is only about 40 feet from our cabin, it is easy to observe that the bird stays there right until dark.” He adds, “He’s not there every night, so he must have other places—a regular real estate baron among birds.”

When birders go beyond identifying birds to observing their behaviors, they’re much more likely to make lovely discoveries like this.