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 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!!

would like to hear your thoughts..