Adapted from Jim Conrad's online book A Birding Trip through Mexico, This excerpt from "The Pine Forest of Lake Arareko" near Copper Canyon
THE BROWN CREEPER
When the Arizona Pine's lowest, more or less horizontal branches die they generally remain on the tree for a few years giving it a scraggly look, and then they fall off. Often these dead lower branches are encrusted with brittle lichen with relatively humid microclimates beneath their crusts. Naturally gardens of miniscule creatures congregate there. In this Lilliputian world the little (4¾-inches, 12 cm) Brown Creeper is the tiger, the ever bill-probing predator.
Much of the time the Brown Creeper works with its back toward the ground, seemingly impossibly hopping along the undersurfaces of lichen-covered limbs. A good deal of its prey appears to be taken at the tips of dead branches and broken-off twigs. Certainly spiderlings are drawn to these branch tips, where they eject gossamer strands into the wind. When the wind's pull on the silk reaches a certain point, the spiderlings release their hold on the stem and balloon away on air currents -- unless the Brown Creeper comes first.