Yellow Bellied Sapsucker Pecking for Sap

by Mark Callaway
(Atlanta GA USA)

Yellow Bellied Sapsucker Woodpecker

We have some suet hanging from a birdhouse, but this bird was so busy putting holes in the tree next to our fence, that I was able to walk along the fence and get about 10 feet from the Yellow Bellied Sapsucker Woodpecker. My stepfather suggested, over a phone call, that it was probably a Sapsucker. He was able to guess it correctly, without seeing the bird, just by my explaining what the bird was doing. The bird spent a long time making all its new rows of holes up and down the tree - I figure it took the bird about 2 hrs to do. Then the bird kept moving up and down the tree where she would revisit the holes over and over. I assume this bird was a she as the male should have more red on its head and neck.

Wonderful photos, Mark. Yes this is a female. To trap insects, sapsuckers drill parallel rows of holes in trees to form sap wells, which they maintain and defend.

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