Monday, December 29, 2014

Red-breasted Sapsucker

This Red-breasted Sapsucker caught our attention yesterday during a brief mid-day -bird walk at Wallace Marine City Park.  Its bright colors gave a cheery note to the dull shades of the winter day. As I started taking photos we realized that it was actually acquiring sap.  The four species that make up the genius of Sapsuckers all drill shallow evenly spaced holes in a horizontal line to tap the trees for sap.  Once drilled, they continue to revisit these “wells” to harvest the sap.  You can see from the photo that the entire bark surface is wet from the oozing sap.  A second source of nutrition for these birds is the insects that are attracted to the sap. This is a good time of year to find them at lower elevations. Once a working sapsucker is discovered you should predictably be able to make repeated observations.

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