Sunday, May 29, 2016

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

This spring, we witnessed a wave of migrating Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. Recently I posted, “Sapsuckers are famous for drilling sap wells, and often damage trees in the process. In the spring, the wells harvest upward moving sap in tree xylem. Later wells capture downward-flowing phloem sap. Insects trapped in the sap wells are also consumed.”

Sapsuckers are common migrants in Northfield; a few breed here. These woodpeckers are important community members. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds follow sapsuckers through the forest. Hummingbirds use woodpecker holes both for their sap and the small insects trapped there. Sapsucker nesting holes provide roosting sites for other birds and some mammals (Walters et al. 2002). Note the red throats of the birds in the first two photos—they are males. The white throat of the last woodpecker indicates that it is a female.

No comments:

Post a Comment