Just like the migrating raptors that prefer to fly down the Minnesota shore of Lake Superior rather than venture above Lake Superior’s water, the little Brown Creeper is very uncomfortable away from the trunks of trees. In fact, I have never seen a Brown Creeper at a bird feeder mounted on a pole or hanging from a branch. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen. But I think it is rare.
Nevertheless, I like to see the little birds around—and you can, too. Simply feed suet from a feeder mounted on the trunk of a tree where visiting Brown Creepers are most likely to approach it (other suet eaters can access it here, too). Creepers live on tiny insects and insect eggs, and generally consume similar-sized morsels of suet. Sometimes they will climb from the foot of the tree up to the suet feeder to eat from the base or sides of the suet. (My feeder is about 5½ feet high and fastened to the trunk by fencing staples.) More often, though, they will just pick up the tiniest of scraps that have fallen to the ground or lodged in cracks and crevices in the bark as a result of the pecking on the suet by woodpeckers and other birds.
Brown Creepers are hard to see, and hard to hear (when you get older), but it is quite satisfying to know that you can help these tiny birds survive Minnesota’s extremes just by offering suet where they are comfortable consuming it.
Contributed by Minnetonka customer Don Grussing, author of The Seasons of the Robin and How to Control House Sparrows