Saturday, 27 February 2016

Bird of the week - Treecreeper

The treecreeper (Certhia familiaris) is an uncommon garden bird but I am fortunate to be visited by a pair many times a day.

Treecreepers normally eat insects but in winter mine are keen on the seed/lard mix in the woodpecker feeder and are especially fond of peanut butter.

This bird was eating peanut butter this afternoon.

The treecreeper is almost always seen hopping up a tree but occasionally ventures onto the ground at the base of a tree and very occasionally heads downwards - usually when it has spotted more peanut butter.

This one from yesterday was pulling bits of wood from the tree and discarding them, perhaps hoping to find more peanut butter underneath.

Treecreepers are found in most parts of the UK apart from high mountains and, for some reason, the area south of the Wash, perhaps because there aren't any trees.

There are about 200,000 treecreeper territories in the country.  Like many very small birds they do badly in very cold winters but numbers have been stable recently.
Treecreeper numbers in gardens peak at about this time but they are seen in only around 2% of gardens.

The longer term data from BTO Garden BirdWatch show the variations.

The treecreepers in my garden will presumably nest here or close by.  Treecreepers nest in small holes and cracks in trees but rarely use nest boxes, probably, in part at least, because the boxes are of the wrong design.  I have today made and put up a box modelled on a new design from the BTO in the hope that my treecreepers will use it.  If the box is used I'll be sure to write about it on this blog.

You can read more about treecreepers here and listen to Bill Oddie's BBC Radio 4 Tweet of the Day on treecreepers here.


  1. They must keep coming back for all that peanut butter! Are they fussy about whether it's smooth or crunchy?

    1. Hi Emily. The treecreepers will happily eat smooth or crunchy. Whether they eat the peanuts in crunchy I can't tell as the woodpeckers, tits, chaffinches, magpies etc all eat it as well. I have just taken delivery of five new flavours, including insect and mealworm, and expect they'll enjoy all those as well.