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Junior Ranger, Jr. Explores Creepers

This wildlife activity page is part of a Junior Ranger, Jr. series for ages 3-6. Adults and young children can use some or all of the activities to explore nature together inside and outside the home.

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a creeper climbs a dead tree vertically with a blue sky in the background
Brown creeper calling from a tree trunk in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio.

© Jim Roetzel

Imagine

If you were a brown creeper, you would be a tiny forest bird. The top side of your body would be covered in brown, patterned feathers that look like bark. They camouflage, or hide, you. You would have a long tail and a long, curved bill. If you were hungry, you would fly to the base of a large tree and “creep” your way up the trunk headfirst. As you spiral around, you would search for insects, spiders, and insect larvae to eat. If you wanted to talk with your friends, you would make a high-pitched call note or a short, high-pitched song.

a photo of the snack on a blue plate: strips of bread spread with peanut butter and dotted with raisins and m&ms
Raisins on a log snack

NPS/Arrye Rosser

Make

Make a snack that looks like insects on a log. Smear peanut butter on pretzel sticks or cream cheese on celery stalks. Press on raisins. Eat this as part of the Move activity.

Materials

  • celery or pretzel sticks

  • cream cheese or peanut butter

  • raisins

  • butter knife

  • plate

Look/Listen

Listen to the song of a male brown creeper.

Listen to the call of a male brown creeper.

Watch a video of a brown creeper hopping around a tree.

Move

Brown creepers “creep” up big trees in their forest home. Practice “creeping” slowly and quietly around your home. Set out your snack (see Make). Sneak up on the raisins and quickly gobble them up.

Find

Brown creepers can be found where there are large areas of mature forests. Take a walk in your backyard, in your neighborhood, or in a nearby park. Find the biggest trees. Are there any brown creepers hopping up a trunk or around a branch? Look closely at each tree for signs of insects that a brown creeper could eat.

Learn More

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has put together a wonderful collection of bird sounds, photos, and other information. Click to learn more about the brown creeper.

Last updated: December 8, 2020