The Story of Brown Creeper S09-100

About a month ago, when I was working in the bird division prep lab at the Field Museum, I worked on making a study skin of a particular Brown Creeper: number S09-100. If you have followed my blog for sometime, then you will probably know that creepers are amongst my favorite species of birds. S09-100 had a somewhat sad, but ultimately very interesting story. In 2008, it was found injured near a downtown building. It was taken to the Willowbrook Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. The track record for rehabilitating a song bird well enough to release back in to the wild isn't so hot. Song birds are extremely sensitive creatures, and I imagine trying to treat one while not stressing it out is a tricky balancing act. This fellow, however, fully recovered from his injuries and was set free.

Hold the applause, because here is the sad part.

Almost exactly one year after he had been found the first time, he was found again, and no more than a block away from the first location. Unfortunately, he didn't survive his collision with the building. So, yes, a sad ending, but isn't it amazing that he was found so close to the original location, and almost exactly one year later? Tracking a bird like this has yielded some unique insight in to their migration habits. This would also imply that birds aren't learning to avoid the buildings, making it all the more important to continue to find ways to decrease the impact urban environments have on migrating birds. Hopefully the fellow was able to father a bunch of little S09-100s during the time between his release and return.

*watercolor above is available in the store.


  1. The saddest two words on the information superhighway: Sold Out.

  2. that is a very tragic story
    but a wake up call to the builders of tall glass buildings
    i was out for a walk this evening and I had never heard so many crows in our town. They were gathered in large number, and very upset about a red tailed hawk trying to find dinner in on of their nests. The gang of crows managed to scare him off.

  3. Oh yes, crows are fearless that way!

  4. i've run into the same thing(s) plenty of times, and nobody has written a sad story or made a beautiful painting about me...

  5. Well, Brink, the next time that I see you, I'll put a metal tag on your leg so that we can track you better. Then when you smack in to a building, I'll write about it!


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