The tiny Treecreeper is one of our most secretive and special birds in the Gardens. It is easiest to spot in winter and early spring before the trees come into leaf. The Treecreeper's name comes from the bird's unusual habit of climbing up tree-trunks in a mouse-like manner, supported by its long, stiff tail. Unlike the Nuthatch it can't climb down head-first as its tail gets in the way, so it either has to hop down backwards or fly down. If disturbed the Treecreeper will usually freeze on the branch, its black and brown mottled plumage creating effective camouflage.
Treecreepers are solitary birds who like to stay within their home territory. They prefer tall, deciduous trees, like ash and birch.
The Treecreeper is very small - only the size of a wren - although its tail and long, slender, downcurved bill make it seem a lot bigger. Its song is high-pitched and easily-missed, sounding almost insect-like with a 'see-see-see' call.
When it comes to nest-building the Treecreeper opts for an unusual solution; it constructs its nest behind a flap of loose tree bark. It starts with a base of twigs, adding in moss, lichen, grass and wood chips and, once completed, the female lines it with hair, wool and feathers.
Given that the clutch-size is usually five or six, the nest gets quite crowded when the chicks are nearly ready to fledge.
Treecreepers breed between April and June, taking advantage of caterpillars to feed their young.
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Although the Treecreeper population appears stable at present, it is one of the UK's less common birds, with about 200,000 breeding pairs.