Dawn singing in Brown Creeper (Certhia americana)





Dawn chorus, vocal behaviour, Brown Creeper, autonomous recording


The dawn chorus of birds is an impressive display in which many individuals of a variety of species sing concurrently before sunrise. Brown Creeper (Certhia americana) is a small passerine bird that has not been well studied and is thought not to sing during the dawn chorus. Here, we used automated recordings to analyze Brown Creeper singing during the 2015–2017 breeding seasons from April through August in order to identify patterns in the timing and quantity of singing. We found that Brown Creepers did sing before sunrise, most often between April and early June and then more sporadically through mid July. We did not find any seasonal changes in song rates before sunrise, but we did find non-linear seasonal trends in both the timing and total duration of dawn singing bouts. Dawn choruses began earlier and lasted longer from April through mid June after which they began later and became shorter. Our results highlight the benefit of using automated recording techniques to study natural history of difficult to study species and add to our understanding of Brown Creeper natural history.

Author Biography

Jennifer R. Foote, Department of Biology, Algoma University, Sault Ste Marie, ON

Expertise: songbirds, acoustic communication, animal behaviour, sexual selection, behavioural ecology.