Saturday, January 9, 2010

You Yellow-bellied Sapsucker...kapow!

I suppose his name could sound like an insult one might overhear on the ole toons network...but this Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, a member of the woodpecker family, really is a super neat bird. It certainly does possess a yellowish belly and tree sap constitutes a large portion of its diet. From what I've read, RB Sapsuckers have mastered the craft of creating a continuous sap flow from trees. They drill two kinds of holes.. a round deep hole to probe for sap and a rectangular shallow hole which must be maintained for continual sap flow. Researchers have tried to duplicate their drilling techniques only to find they couldn't achieve the same results of causing the tree to have a continuous sap flow and now it is believed that the Sapsucker's saliva may contain a substance that acts as an anticoagulant and prevents the tree's sap from clogging and sealing over the drilled holes! Pretty neat..huh?

This is great for other sap-loving creatures, such as bats, squirrels, warblers, hummers and nuthatches to name a few...how nice to have someone else provide an access for your sweet tooth..err..bill.


This little guy uses an incredible amount of energy drilling these little holes and his need for rest is quite demanding and so Mother Nature provided him with a wonderful camouflage. When he stops to rest he fluffs out his mottled plumage which allows him to melt into his environment...making him really hard to see.
I was very lucky to capture a few photos of this guy as he flew from tree to tree..the lighting was perfect for emphasizing that wonderful woodpecker face!!

17 comments:

Chris said...

HI Tina,
This is a superb post and you got beautiful pictures of this nice bird I've never seen... I'm eager to go out nowadays but the weather is so awful that I prefer to stay warm!! Raining like hell for the week end, so I still did not manage to get proper shot with the 50D!!

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Great shots.He is a really pretty bird and I am looking forward to seeing them again in spring.
Blessings,Ruth

JKoenig said...

Wow! He sure does blend into his background. If it wasn't for that little bit of red on top, you would probably miss him.

Gail said...

Great job and he is doing a great job at hiding.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh Tina, I've never seen one of these. I've seen pictures--but not in real life. What a gorgeous woodpecker. You captured a beauty!!!!
Hugs,
Betsy

Eve said...

Love the new header Tina. Thanks for sharing all the info on the Yellow-bellied. I get to see them here more often than up north. The do blend in dont they!

NCmountainwoman said...

I know they are around here, but we've never seen one. Lucky you.

Gail said...

I have a home made award for you at my site.

Leeloo said...

Those pictures are great! I love how the bird blends in with the tree perfectly. Thanks for the info, I had no idea about all this.

The Early Birder said...

Without the red cap..superbly camouflaged. Thanks for a very interesting post Tina.

troutbirder said...

An amazing bird indeed. I had one once that took a liking to a thin skinned mountain ash in my front yard. I wasn't real happy with his work for a while though. :}

Neal said...

Very, very nice Tina, as usual! He sure blends in with the tree.

Kelly said...

...fantastic post!! I didn't know about the anti-coagulent. I only get to see them rarely, so I have not studied them. I do love them every time I see one. I liked the photos and the narration!!

√ Abraham Lincoln said...

The Yellow Bellied Sapsucker is hard to photograph as the ones I have seen are up against the tree bark so close that they seem to always be in the shade. I was lucky once and got them up against snow on a tree trunk and was able to get to better photos. But you seem to have solved the problem with these pictures. Nice.

dAwN said...

Howdee Tina..
back in internet land and I am catching up on blog reading this stormy AZ day.
nice to see your posts..and wow..that quilt art below is simply stunning.
see ya in cyberspace.

HANNIBAL said...

Very informative with good photos too! I love his interesting plumage too!

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Tina: Neat shots, I wouldn't have know that bird.

would like to hear your thoughts..