February 2013 - The Treecreeper
This active robin-sized bird is best seen in autumn and winter, although it is resident in the UK and can be seen throughout the year. In the autumn and winter it often joins flocks of tits and chaffinches that visit the gardens of Bawburgh. It is fascinating to watch this bird as it climbs up the trunk of a mature tree (luckily we have an old cherry tree in the garden, so we have a prime view), probing the crevices for insects and spiders with its specialised long, slender, down curved bill. Treecreepers do not tend to go down the trunks of trees in their hunt for food. If a bird is seen going down the trunk, it is more likely to be a Nuthatch. In winter the Treecreeper may change its diet to an opportunistic seed one as the insects become scarce.
In April, both male and female birds build their nest of twigs, grass, moss and feathers, the nest often being built behind an overhanging piece of bark, although sometimes in ivy or the cladding of a building. Only the female incubates the eggs, typically 5 or 6 in number, although both birds feed the young, typically with the first glut of caterpillars in June. There may be 2 broods a year. Birds are able to breed in their first year, and their typical lifespan is recorded as being only 2 years.
According to the RSPB there are 214,000 breeding pairs in the UK, making it a relatively common bird; the population appears to be stable, although in harsh winters there is an expected downward fluctuation.
There have been several sightings of Waxwings in the village this winter and Dominic Bell reports seeing several Lesser Redpoll around Bawburgh Lakes this January, as well as gold crests and bullfinches. A full list of Dominic's sightings can be found on the Bawburgh Village website under the Wild About Bawburgh Mardle Section. Please let me know if you see anything interesting.
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