About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Dark woodpecker on tree

Female sapsucker comes to visit.
My brother spotted a new bird this weekend. A "dark woodpecker" pecking at the tree outside the Wild Birds Unlimited store in East Lansing, MI. I recognized by the silhouette and behavior that it was a sapsucker! I don't see them often but they stop by in the spring and the fall for a little bite before moving on.

They are black and white all over with a yellowish to creamy-white belly. The males have a bright red crown and throat and a black bib. The female yellow-bellied sapsucker is similar in appearance to the male, but can be distinguished by a white rather than red throat. The female’s crown may also be paler red, sometimes mixed with black.

Although insects make up part of its diet, the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is better known for its boring of numerous shallow holes in the bark of live trees to obtain sap, hence the name sapsucker. The yellow-bellied sapsucker is the only member of the woodpecker family to tattoo these wells in a row. The neatly organized patches of holes well up with sap that the sapsucker laps up with their brush-like tongue (not sucks). He also eats any bugs that happen to get trapped in the sticky stuff.

Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers arrive back in mid-Michigan in April from their wintering grounds in the southern U.S., Mexico, West Indies, and Central America. These fresh drilled holes produce sweet sap sources that also benefit migrating hummingbirds, waxwings, and warblers while traveling.

The breeding range of the yellow-bellied sapsucker extends from mid-Michigan up and across the northern United States from east of the Rocky Mountains to Maine and into Canada and Alaska.

Related Articles:
- Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is a real bird
https://goo.gl/7EHyMB
- Hummingbirds follow the sapsuckers during migration http://bit.ly/oqUDia
- How many woodpeckers are in Michigan? http://bit.ly/obAc2U
- Fall Trees Reveal Their Secrets http://bit.ly/nHeb9z
- Yellow-bellied Sapsucker: Vampire Bird http://goo.gl/ipdib

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