Sapsucker visitation

by Kent Ruch
(Allentown, PA)

What a treat to do a double-take, thinking a Downey is visiting my inverted suet feeder, until I put on my glasses and see the red crest extending forward to the beak. The sapsuckers seem to be very shy, like the occasional Red-belly and the elusive Hairy. I almost have to watch all day to catch a glimpse of these beautiful creatures.


This woodpecker I am sorry to say can be the black sheep of his family. He never bores a tree as his cousins do. Other woodpeckers drill holes into a tree because they are probing for insects. The sapsucker alone drills rings of holes for the sake of getting at the soft inner bark of the tree and drinking the sap that trickles from it. He has been known to sometimes kill a tree in doing so - but rarely.

He also likes wild fruit and soft shelled nuts.

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