Your Bird­ing Month

Bird Watching (UK) - - Contents -

A pro­file of the lov­able Treecreeper plus five birds to add your tick­list

The Treecreeper is one of those birds that every­body loves. It is in many ways adorable: tiny, fa­mously mouse­like, nicely pat­terned and very dis­tinc­tive in its shape and be­hav­iour. Who could re­sist watch­ing one of these lit­tle curve-billed, wood­pecker-tailed cuties spi­ralling round a ver­ti­cal trunk? It is also one of those birds which are much more of­ten heard than seen, though many bird­watch­ers are ei­ther un­aware of the calls and song or are in­ca­pable of hear­ing such high-pitched sounds. The call is a very high-pitched, re­peated, al­most buzzing ‘sr­reee’ (which sounds like it is made of many in­di­vid­ual notes squeezed into one). The song is a short ditty which has al­most the tone of a Blue Tit and the pat­tern of a Wil­low War­bler’s song, de­scend­ing then end­ing in a lit­tle trill. And, on sunny days, you may well hear one singing in De­cem­ber (see inset pho­to­graph). Both sounds are very use­ful to know, as by the na­ture of the Treecreeper’s wood­land habi­tat and ver­ti­cal, creep­ing habits, it can be a tricky cus­tomer to see. The high-pitched na­ture of the calls makes it hard to track down, though, but will give you a gen­eral di­rec­tion, and with luck you may see one of these tid­dlers, spi­ralling or per­haps drop­ping down to start the spi­ralling again, on a nearby trunk. Treecreep­ers are widely dis­trib­uted across the coun­try, found just about ev­ery­where that has any trees (so ab­sent from high moun­tains, but present in most other places). They are one of the few birds which are very com­fort­able in conif­er­ous wood­land; soft bark is just their cup of tea for prob­ing with that mini-curlew bill.

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