Date: 1/12/18 8:34 pm
From: roger freeman <carrotguy55...>
Subject: [obol] Re: Brown Creeper (Certhia americana) phylogeny
Thanks Bob and Nathaniel for the levity and nice start to the weekend. We
will never look at Brown Creepers the same way again!
Truly, this thread needs to RIP, or head to BOO land.
Roger Freeman

On Friday, January 12, 2018, Robert O'Brien <baro...> wrote:

> OK, To avoid the further *Wrath of Joel*, I'll let this
> thread die. (Mercifully). Bob
>
> On Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 6:40 PM, Nathaniel Wander <nw105...>
> wrote:
>
>> I didn't mean this as a game, let alone by Monty Python rules.
>>
>> Sir Bedemere: “What do you do with witches?”
>>
>> “Villagers: Burn ‘em!”
>>
>> SB: “And what do you burn apart from witches?’
>>
>> Vs: “More witches.” “Wood.”
>>
>> SB: “So, why do witches burn?”
>>
>> Vs:“Cause they’re made of wood?”
>>
>> SB: “Good. So how do we tell whether she is made of wood?”
>>
>> Vs: “Build a bridge out of her.”
>>
>> SB: “But can you not build a bridge out of stone?”
>>
>> Vs: “Uh, yeah.”
>>
>> SB: “Does wood sink in water?”
>>
>> Vs: “No.” “No.” “It floats.” “It floats.” “Throw her in the pond.”
>>
>> SB: “What also floats in water?”
>>
>> Vs: “Bread.” “Apples.” “Very small rocks.” “Cider.” Grape gravy.”
>> “Cherries.” “Mud.” “Churches.” “Lead.”
>>
>> King Arthur interjects authoritatively: “A duck!”
>>
>> SB: “Exactly. So, logically …?”
>>
>> Vs: “If she weighs the same as a duck … she’s made of wood.”
>>
>> SB: “And, therefore …?”
>>
>> Vs: “A witch!”
>>
>> Nathaniel Wander
>> Portland, OR
>>
>> *Max Planck* is supposed to have said:
>> A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and
>> making them see the light, but rather because its opponents
>> eventually die
>> and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.
>> *Andreas Wagner* observed of Planck's remark:
>> Science, like nature, advances one funeral at a time. (*Arrival of the
>> Fittest*, p.197)
>>
>>
>> On Friday, January 12, 2018, 5:50:58 PM PST, roger freeman <
>> <carrotguy55...> wrote:
>>
>>
>> Now, this is fun!
>>
>> Roger Freeman
>>
>> On Friday, January 12, 2018, Robert O'Brien <baro...> wrote:
>>
>> Oh boy. Them's fightin' words....................
>>
>> What I meant to say is that Brown Creeper is about the closest thing*
>> _we have here_*
>> to a woodpecker. Of course, my statement was more general than that, but
>> I'll still defend it.
>> If there is something closer in Oregon/US to woodpeckers I want to learn
>> what it is.
>>
>> We don't have a whole lot of trunk-feeding birds here. Off the top of my
>> head we have woodpeckers,
>> creepers, and nuthatches. (Tits, kinglets, some warblers and maybe some
>> others sometimes feed in trunk crevices
>> but not habitually). Woodpeckers and creepers have stiffened, elongated
>> central feathers
>> (as the roosting photo shows). These are used in balancing these two
>> families for their lives
>> against vertical or flat surfaces, often or always against tree trunks.
>> they roost in a similar fashion.
>> Nuthatches do not have such tail feathers. I'm not sure where they roost.
>>
>> Woodpeckers have heads/bills adapted to pounding into softer wood while
>> creepers
>> don't. Woodpeckers usually have two toes forward and two behind while
>> creepers have the usual
>> 3:1 structure. Yet woodpeckers, especially the smaller ones, feed very
>> often in bark crevices just as creepers do.
>> While creepers don't excavate true holes as woodpeckers often do, they
>> usually nest along tree trunks
>> as well; usually under pieces of loose bark, but are not above nesting in
>> existing cavities of a sort and even clean
>> them out of debris or loose/rotted wood as woodpeckers do.
>>
>> I didn't say they were phylogenetic (direct) descendents of woodpeckers
>> or a common ancestor.
>> There is evolution, and there is *_convergent evolution_* of which I
>> claimed the latter.
>> That is, they have evolved from different original families to occupy a
>> similar habitat and lifestyle
>> to another family's descendents. (Cacti & euphorbias are totally
>> unrelated family-wise, but
>> have evolved similar structures and habitats (succulent, drought
>> tolerant, thorns, supressed or absent leaves, etc.).
>> Their different upbringing is given away by their totally different
>> flowers, however.)
>>
>> Another example. Australia has no woodpeckers at all. The closest thing
>> that continent has is Riflebirds,
>> specifically in my experience, Paradise Riflebird, a flicker-sized bird
>> with a (very strong in this case)
>> decurved bill like Brown Creeper's miniature bill. It lacks the central,
>> stiff tail feathers, it's tail more like
>> a nuthatch. Like Creepers, this species has no phylogenetic
>> relationship to woodpeckers but has
>> evolved similar habits such as foraging in rotting wood.
>>
>> http://www.australianwildlife. org/wildlife/paradise- riflebird.aspx
>> <http://www.australianwildlife.org/wildlife/paradise-riflebird.aspx>
>>
>> The Wallcreeper of Eurasia has a similar clinging lifestyle as their name
>> implies, but they also
>> lack the central tail feathers with tails like nuthatches to which they
>> are sometimes thought to be
>> related. They're still working on evolving that feature I guess. They
>> have no plans to
>> evolve bills capable to boring into rocky cliffs, their preferred habitat.
>>
>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Wallcreeper
>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallcreeper>
>>
>> So there (hee, hee; how do ya' like them apples?).
>>
>> Bob
>>
>>
>>
>> On Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 10:33 AM, Nathaniel Wander <nw105...>
>> wrote:
>>
>> While I’m guessing that Bob O’Brien offered the remark that Brown
>> Creepers were the “about the closest thing that you can get to a
>> woodpecker” in an act of kindness to lighten the mood and “spare the
>> blushes” of an honest mis-identification, they are, of course, nothing of
>> the sort. Creepers (treecreepers in the Old World) are songbirds: they
>> don’t look like woodpeckers, they don’t behave like woodpeckers and they
>> have no near phylogenetic relationship to woodpeckers. Their one
>> interesting connection to woodpeckers is that they compete with and defend
>> territories against Redheaded Woodpeckers (*Melanerpes erythrocephalus*)
>> in eastern North America. Even still, they prefer arachnids to insects and
>> eat seeds in winter.
>>
>> Brown Creepers’ closest relatives are the as many as ten treecreeper
>> species in Europe and Asia. After that, they appear to be most closely
>> related to gnatcatchers and are considered general kin to wrens—these
>> species comprise the family Certhioidea. There are thought to be about six
>> to nine races of Brown Creepers in North America, not counting a few
>> Mexican races that reach the mountains of Arizona and New Mexico. The
>> details of their relationships have been much debated. In the past the
>> North American birds have sometimes been divided into three or four
>> discrete species, sometimes even lumped with the Eurasian Treecreeper (*C
>> familiaris*). There was a proposal before the AOS last spring to divide
>> the present single New World species into a North American species
>> (exclusive of the highland Arizona/New Mexico populations) and a
>> Mexican/Central American species (including highland Arizona/New Mexico
>> populations) possibly to be named Nearctic Creeper and Neotropical Creeper
>> respectively. I can’t see that it has been voted on yet.
>>
>> Otherwise, creepers feed on tree trunks by poking beneath bark flakes
>> rather than boring holes like woodpeckers. They are not cavity nesters,
>> but weavers. They communicate via high pitched calls and songs, not
>> drumming and they are cryptically colored rather than boldly marked. They
>> take insects but prefer arachnids and, of course, their prey range is
>> generally significantly smaller than that of woodpeckers: I’ve found no
>> evidence that they consume ants.
>>
>> It may be that Bob wasn’t genially joking, but was thinking of
>> woodcreepers (Dendrocolaptinae) rather than creepers/treecreepers. These
>> 50-60 odd Central/S American forest birds fall in the woodpecker size range
>> and have some evolutionarily convergent features with the latter including
>> stiff tails which they use woodpecker-like as an important point of contact
>> in shimmying up tree trunks. Woodcreepers generally have heavy bills, but
>> use them for bark-probing like creepers/treecreepers rather than boring
>> like woodpeckers. Their generally cryptic coloration is also sometimes
>> said to be convergent with creepers/treecreepers. Woodcreepers too are
>> passerines, though suboscines (like flycatchers) rather than ‘true’ oscine
>> songbirds. Suboscine songs are generally less complex than those of oscine
>> songbirds and typically are acquired genetically rather than learned.
>>
>>
>> Nathaniel Wander
>> Portland, OR
>>
>> *Max Planck* is supposed to have said:
>> A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and
>> making them see the light, but rather because its opponents
>> eventually die
>> and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.
>> *Andreas Wagner* observed of Planck's remark:
>> Science, like nature, advances one funeral at a time. (*Arrival of the
>> Fittest*, p.197)
>>
>>
>> On Friday, January 12, 2018, 5:50:58 PM PST, roger freeman <
>> <carrotguy55...> wrote:
>>
>>
>> Now, this is fun!
>>
>> Roger Freeman
>>
>> On Friday, January 12, 2018, Robert O'Brien <baro...> wrote:
>>
>> Oh boy. Them's fightin' words....................
>>
>> What I meant to say is that Brown Creeper is about the closest thing*
>> _we have here_*
>> to a woodpecker. Of course, my statement was more general than that, but
>> I'll still defend it.
>> If there is something closer in Oregon/US to woodpeckers I want to learn
>> what it is.
>>
>> We don't have a whole lot of trunk-feeding birds here. Off the top of my
>> head we have woodpeckers,
>> creepers, and nuthatches. (Tits, kinglets, some warblers and maybe some
>> others sometimes feed in trunk crevices
>> but not habitually). Woodpeckers and creepers have stiffened, elongated
>> central feathers
>> (as the roosting photo shows). These are used in balancing these two
>> families for their lives
>> against vertical or flat surfaces, often or always against tree trunks.
>> they roost in a similar fashion.
>> Nuthatches do not have such tail feathers. I'm not sure where they roost.
>>
>> Woodpeckers have heads/bills adapted to pounding into softer wood while
>> creepers
>> don't. Woodpeckers usually have two toes forward and two behind while
>> creepers have the usual
>> 3:1 structure. Yet woodpeckers, especially the smaller ones, feed very
>> often in bark crevices just as creepers do.
>> While creepers don't excavate true holes as woodpeckers often do, they
>> usually nest along tree trunks
>> as well; usually under pieces of loose bark, but are not above nesting in
>> existing cavities of a sort and even clean
>> them out of debris or loose/rotted wood as woodpeckers do.
>>
>> I didn't say they were phylogenetic (direct) descendents of woodpeckers
>> or a common ancestor.
>> There is evolution, and there is *_convergent evolution_* of which I
>> claimed the latter.
>> That is, they have evolved from different original families to occupy a
>> similar habitat and lifestyle
>> to another family's descendents. (Cacti & euphorbias are totally
>> unrelated family-wise, but
>> have evolved similar structures and habitats (succulent, drought
>> tolerant, thorns, supressed or absent leaves, etc.).
>> Their different upbringing is given away by their totally different
>> flowers, however.)
>>
>> Another example. Australia has no woodpeckers at all. The closest thing
>> that continent has is Riflebirds,
>> specifically in my experience, Paradise Riflebird, a flicker-sized bird
>> with a (very strong in this case)
>> decurved bill like Brown Creeper's miniature bill. It lacks the central,
>> stiff tail feathers, it's tail more like
>> a nuthatch. Like Creepers, this species has no phylogenetic
>> relationship to woodpeckers but has
>> evolved similar habits such as foraging in rotting wood.
>>
>> http://www.australianwildlife. org/wildlife/paradise- riflebird.aspx
>> <http://www.australianwildlife.org/wildlife/paradise-riflebird.aspx>
>>
>> The Wallcreeper of Eurasia has a similar clinging lifestyle as their name
>> implies, but they also
>> lack the central tail feathers with tails like nuthatches to which they
>> are sometimes thought to be
>> related. They're still working on evolving that feature I guess. They
>> have no plans to
>> evolve bills capable to boring into rocky cliffs, their preferred habitat.
>>
>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Wallcreeper
>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallcreeper>
>>
>> So there (hee, hee; how do ya' like them apples?).
>>
>> Bob
>>
>>
>>
>> On Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 10:33 AM, Nathaniel Wander <nw105...>
>> wrote:
>>
>> While I’m guessing that Bob O’Brien offered the remark that Brown
>> Creepers were the “about the closest thing that you can get to a
>> woodpecker” in an act of kindness to lighten the mood and “spare the
>> blushes” of an honest mis-identification, they are, of course, nothing of
>> the sort. Creepers (treecreepers in the Old World) are songbirds: they
>> don’t look like woodpeckers, they don’t behave like woodpeckers and they
>> have no near phylogenetic relationship to woodpeckers. Their one
>> interesting connection to woodpeckers is that they compete with and defend
>> territories against Redheaded Woodpeckers (*Melanerpes erythrocephalus*)
>> in eastern North America. Even still, they prefer arachnids to insects and
>> eat seeds in winter.
>>
>> Brown Creepers’ closest relatives are the as many as ten treecreeper
>> species in Europe and Asia. After that, they appear to be most closely
>> related to gnatcatchers and are considered general kin to wrens—these
>> species comprise the family Certhioidea. There are thought to be about six
>> to nine races of Brown Creepers in North America, not counting a few
>> Mexican races that reach the mountains of Arizona and New Mexico. The
>> details of their relationships have been much debated. In the past the
>> North American birds have sometimes been divided into three or four
>> discrete species, sometimes even lumped with the Eurasian Treecreeper (*C
>> familiaris*). There was a proposal before the AOS last spring to divide
>> the present single New World species into a North American species
>> (exclusive of the highland Arizona/New Mexico populations) and a
>> Mexican/Central American species (including highland Arizona/New Mexico
>> populations) possibly to be named Nearctic Creeper and Neotropical Creeper
>> respectively. I can’t see that it has been voted on yet.
>>
>> Otherwise, creepers feed on tree trunks by poking beneath bark flakes
>> rather than boring holes like woodpeckers. They are not cavity nesters,
>> but weavers. They communicate via high pitched calls and songs, not
>> drumming and they are cryptically colored rather than boldly marked. They
>> take insects but prefer arachnids and, of course, their prey range is
>> generally significantly smaller than that of woodpeckers: I’ve found no
>> evidence that they consume ants.
>>
>> It may be that Bob wasn’t genially joking, but was thinking of
>> woodcreepers (Dendrocolaptinae) rather than creepers/treecreepers. These
>> 50-60 odd Central/S American forest birds fall in the woodpecker size range
>> and have some evolutionarily convergent features with the latter including
>> stiff tails which they use woodpecker-like as an important point of contact
>> in shimmying up tree trunks. Woodcreepers generally have heavy bills, but
>> use them for bark-probing like creepers/treecreepers rather than boring
>> like woodpeckers. Their generally cryptic coloration is also sometimes
>> said to be convergent with creepers/treecreepers. Woodcreepers too are
>> passerines, though suboscines (like flycatchers) rather than ‘true’ oscine
>> songbirds. Suboscine songs are generally less complex than those of oscine
>> songbirds and typically are acquired genetically rather than learned.
>>
>>
>> Nathaniel Wander
>> Portland, OR
>>
>> *Max Planck* is supposed to have said:
>> A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and
>> making them see the light, but rather because its opponents
>> eventually die
>> and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.
>> *Andreas Wagner* observed of Planck's remark:
>> Science, like nature, advances one funeral at a time. (*Arrival of the
>> Fittest*, p.197)
>>
>>
>>
>

 
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