Saturday, September 12, 2009


A few days ago, the art farmer emailed this beautiful photo to me and gave me permission to post it on my blog. A good friend of hers from Georgia identified the small bird as a Brown Creeper. That's Chai looking at the Brown Creeper. Chai is the Bengal Cat who lives on the art farm and who was so ill a few weeks ago but has made a good recovery.

BROWN CREEPER: Certhia familiaris, 5 to 5-3/4 inches

Field Marks: A slim, well-camouflaged, brown-backed tree-climber. Much smaller than a House Sparrow, with a slender decurved bill and a stiff tail, braced when climbing. It ascends a tree spirally, then flies to the base of the next tree.

Voice: Note, a single high thin seee, similar to quick trebled note (see-see-see) of Golden-crowed Kinglet. Song, a thin sibilant see-ti-wee-tu-wee or see-see-see-sisi-see.

Where found: Eurasia; s. Alaska, Canada to Nicaragua. In East to s. mts; winters to Gulf states. West: Mainly resident from s.-c. Alaska, B.C., c. Alberta, c. Saskatchewan south on coast to c. California (Monterey Co.); in mts. to s. California, se. Arizona, sw. New Mexico, w. Texas (Guadalupe Mts.) Irregular migrant to lowlands. Habitat: Mature forest, groves. Nest: Behind strip of loose bark. Eggs (4-8) dotted.

(From A Field Guide To Western Birds, by Roger Tory Peterson; however, internet sources refer to the American Brown Creeper as Certhia americana)

My guess is that it is somewhat unusual for a Brown Creeper to appear and then remain for an extended period of time at the porch window of a second story condominium that overlooks a marsh. Especially when a Bengal Cat is looking out at it.


The art farmer and I were wondering if this little bird had something to do with our dear neighbor, Dora, who died of a stroke on August 1. There is a tradition of stories of birds who appear unexpectedly after the death of a loved one.

Three days after my mother died in December of 1994, a Black Phoebe appeared outside my parents' home on the California coast. It drew attention to itself by calling loudly and flying toward the large windows that looked out toward to the ocean. Then it would fly away a few feet and look intently into the house. For all the times I had visited my parents' home and observed the birds there, I had never been aware of the Black Phoebes that are common in that area.

Richard's sister, who was with Richard when he died, said that as he breathed out for the last time, she had a vision of a bird taking flight.

Thanks so much to the art farmer for the inspiration for this post.

Thanks so much to all who stop by and comment and to all who stop by to look and read quietly.


mum said...

that's an amazing sighting. Love the light shining through Chai's ears, too.

We had quite a few unusual sightings when we lived out on the farm - usually, they occurred after a storm. I simply assumed the birds had been flown off their normal routes - but maybe I was being too literal-minded, who knows?

best to you, am (and thanks for the listen).

Dale said...


robin andrea said...

Of all the birds I have wished to see, the brown creeper tops the list. Not sure why, but I haven't seen one yet. I like this one outside the window like that. I should be as lucky as Chai someday.