Birds of Seabrook Island

COAST BIRDS
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ANECDOTES

  Brown Creeper
 
 

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  Order Passeriformes
   Suborder Passeres - Oscines (Song Birds)
      Parvorder Passerida (Superfamily Sylvioidea)
         Family Certhiidae - Northern Creepers and Allies
            Subfamily Certhiinae - Tree Creepers
  Passerines are generally smaller than non-passerines. They have a perching foot with three toes directed forward and the one backward with locking tendons to facilitate perching when their tendons are flexed. All passerines scratch by bringing the foot over the wing. Incubation ranges from 11 -21 days. Young hatch blind with little or no down and spend 10-15 days or so in the nest - development is rapid and parents provide care beyond fledging.
Oscines are passerines with complex syringeal musculature used to produce varied vocalizations. 
Sylvioidea includes nuthatches, creepers, wrens, tits, kinglets, and Old World Warblers.
Creepers are small woodland birds with thin, decurved bills and stiff-tail feathers used to prop their bodies against trunks and branches. They usually spiral up a tree and then fly to the base of the next tree, feeding on insects and their eggs and larvae. 
   
     
  □ Brown Creeper, Certhia americana
 
    Cornell     USGS     Wiki     EoL
        WINTER - Rare / Rare
            MATURE WOODLAND, PINE FORESTS (wherever tall trees are present during migration)
 
 
   The Brown Creeper is a small bird (8-9 g). They are mottled brown above, white below with buffy sides. In flight they show a buffy rump and a bold buffy band on the wing. Their tail is relatively long and is used as a prop.
 
       
  RANGE: Brown Creepers breed up the Appalachians to Newfoundland, west across Canada in the southern halves of the lower provinces, and south along the Pacific coast to southern California. They also range down the Rocky Mountains , south into the Mexican Plateau but are absent in much of the Midwest with only a few isolates in woodlands south of the Great Lakes. In winter, some move south to Nicaragua but most remain within the US. The species is found in Holarctic forests of the northern hemisphere.
   The species appears to be declining with the loss of mature forest in the east.
  BREEDING: Monogamous. One brood? Creepers build a cup, usually beneath loose bark (or in a cavity), using bark, moss, needles, and silk. They line it with bark and feathers. The pair select the site and the female does most of the building (needing 6-30 days.) They lay 5-6 eggs which the female incubates for 14-17 days. The male may feed the female during incubation. Altricial young fledge at 13-16 days and are cared for by both parents.
  DIET: They eat insects, spiders, and some other invertebrates - and some acorns or beechnuts. Young are fed all animal food. I've never seen them at a feeder but haven't tried peanut butter.
  VOICE: Their song is thin, accelerating and cascading and can be heard in winter.
  NOTES:
   Checklists -
      Kiawah - occasional fall through spring. Edisto - winter.
      Coastal - rare winter visitor. Hilton Head - uncommon winter visitor. Cape Romain - uncommon/absent/occasional/uncommon.
         Huntington Beach
- [no data].
      Caw Caw - uncommon/absent/uncommon/uncommon. ACE - rare/absent/rare/rare.
   CBC: ACE 2, 2, 0, 1, 2, 2, 1, 2; Charleston 0, 1, 0, 2, 0, 2, 1, 4;
            Hilton Head 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 2, 0, 3; Sun City/Okatie 0, 0, 0, 1, 2, 1, 0, 1;
            McClellanville 0, 0, 1, 2 nc, 4, 1, 5; Winyah Bay x, x, 0, 1, 1, 0, 1, 0; Litchfield/Pawley's 2, 2, 0, 0, 0, 5, 1, 7.
   P&G: Uncommon winter visitor. 2 October - 2 May.
   Avendex: 1 report.
   Potter: Fairly common winter resident from mid-October to mid-April in the coastal plain and piedmont. It breeds in the mountains of North Carolina.
  ●  Rare. I have not seen creepers on Seabrook but we didn't see them in Pennsylvania either, even though we caught a number in mist nets. I suspect they are here in most winters if you know where to look. They don't, however, make themselves obvious. Listen for their song. They probably should be added to our island check list. The Stevenots reported seeing a creeper in the winter of 2010.
   
   

Scansorial Birds

    Woodpeckers and creepers climb tree trunks and branches using their tail as a prop. The central feathers are stiff (and are molted last so new feathers can provide support while the longest feathers regrow). Woodpeckers and creepers usually travel only upwards (the creeper going rapidly up and around one tree, then flying to the base of the next and repeating this behavior). When woodpeckers move down a branch or trunk, they shuffle backwards with their head remaining upwards.
   Nuthatches and the Black-and-White Warbler (also scansorial), however, have short tails and use only their strong feet to provide support. Guess what? They can go up OR down a tree trunk (nuthatches are often pictured facing down - a popular pose).
   It is interesting that different evolutionary lines have made different adaptive responses to utilize a productive niche - the tree skeleton (trunk and branches).
       
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