Friday, February 22, 2008

Migration Underway: Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

This week in 2007, I observed for the first time a yellow-bellied sapsucker. Yes, the yellow-bellied sapsucker is real and not a fictional bird. Since that time in 2007, the yellow-bellied sapsucker has not been seen. Until this morning.
This morning, two yellow-bellied sapsuckers - a male and female (chin and throat red in male, white in female). They were both on the same maple tree. In fact, it was only when I looked closely at the photos that I realized these were two different birds.
Given the timing of these two observations and limited observations, it is clear that these are migrating woodpeckers. The yellow-bellied sapsucker is the only woodpecker in eastern North America that is completely migratory. [Cornell] That is, their summer and winter regions do not over lap; or, they do not stay in one region year around.
After some additional study, two other observations. First, it is clear that the yellow-bellied sapsucker has been in the Colvin Run Habitat for the last week or so based on the song provided at [Cornell]. Second, shown in the last photo are deep round holes that the sapsucker inserts its bill into to probe for sap and rectangular holes which are shallower. New holes usually are made in a line with old holes, or in a new line above the old.

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