Friday, December 3, 2021

Red-breasted Sapsucker

Red-breasted Sapsuckers, found along the West Coast, from southern Alaska to southern California, are common summer residents that are less common during the winter in western Washington. Erika and I took this photo on 1 December 2021 at the Billy Frank Jr National Wildlife Refuge. These woodpeckers were considered to be a race of Yellow-bellied Sapsucker until 1983, when molecular studies suggested they deserve species rank. Sapsuckers get their name from the holes they drill and then mine for sap and insects trapped in the sap. Other species raid sapsucker holes. Rufous Hummingbirds nest near sapsucker holes and often follow sapsuckers as the woodpecker make their sap runs (Walters et al. 2020).

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