In the Big Backyard: Saving the Brown Treecreeper
Eucalyptus forests from Cape York to southern Victoria and eastern South Australia are home to another early breeder, the Brown Treecreeper.
The plumage of these birds may not look as spectacular as that of lorikeets or Superb Fairy Wrens, but their social life is truly remarkable.
Brown Treecreepers are true family birds, with eight to 12 birds sharing a large territory of one to 10 hectares. Each year, the male offspring of the breeding pair stay on to help raise the next generation of chicks.
Treecreeper parents need old trees with hollows to build their nests in. They line the hollow with grass and feathers to make it comfortable for the female. She will sit on her two or three eggs for 27 days, and once the babies hatch, all family members chip in to help feed them.
Brown Treecreepers find their favourite food, ants, in the cracks of bark as they acrobatically move up and down the tree trunks.
Treecreeper clans need large areas of undisturbed, old forests. The average family territory is 4 and a half hectares to provide all the food, shelter and nesting sites the birds need.
Land clearing across the entire range has sadly reduced suitable forests to a point where the birds are under threat of extinction in NSW and the ACT. In some areas they have already disappeared.
With donations from Backyard Buddies and other concerned bird lovers, the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife is supporting a PhD student to reintroduce Brown Treecreepers into a nature reserve in the ACT. After intensive bush regeneration efforts the reserve is now ready to support Treecreepers once again. You can help support this project with a donation today, by calling the Foundation on (02) 9221 1949.