A tree creeper (Certhia familiaris) photographed in the park on Friday by DKG.
Tree creepers are tiny insectivorous birds. They hunt invertebrates in the crevices and cracks of tree bark and among the ferns, mosses and lichens that grow there. They are white underneath but wear mottled camouflage on their backs, which makes them very difficult to see.
Beginning near the bottom, they spiral their way up a tree trunk looking for insects; when they reach the top, they fly down to the bottom of another tree. Long, stiff tail feathers act as a prop against the tree and long toes with long claws find footholds. A tree creeper’s beak is a narrow downward pointing curve, a probe.
In the winter, they shelter at night in splits in and under the bark on a tree trunk; sometimes they use their beak to enlarge the space. They flatten themselves against the tree which is usually warmer than the air temperature outside. A tree creeper may have several shelters in the same tree and seems to use whichever one offers the most protection from that night’s wind.
…the bird was right at the top of the oak near the picnic area. Trying to keep the camera steady, looking up vertically and trying to keep balance is not recommended. This is the first tree creeper I have seen in a long while, nice to know they are still around in the park.