‘An enterprising woodpecker . . .’

fullsizeoutput_30b1We saw and heard many beautiful woodpeckers at Corkscrew Swamp on a recent visit – Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Pileated Woodpeckers, and this beauty above. The vertical white wing patch (along with the yellow belly :-D) is a key distinguishing feature that tells me this is a female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.  

Tree trunks lined with ‘distinctive, neatly organized rows of sapwells’ are a sure sign you’re in Yellow-bellied Sapsucker territory. The Yellow-bellied is ‘an enterprising woodpecker that laps up the leaking sap and any trapped insects with its specialized, brush-tipped tongue.’

Interstingly, bats and other birds, including hummingbirds, also rely on the sap harvested by these woodpeckers (All About Birds). In fact, some ‘Ruby-throated Hummingbirds rely so much on sapwells that they time their spring migration with the arrival of sapsuckers.’!!

8 thoughts on “‘An enterprising woodpecker . . .’

    • Thank you! There were all kinds of woodpeckers, high and low, literally everywhere around us that day! I also was unaware of the connection between hummingbirds and sapsuckers – fascinating stuff.

  1. Interesting info about the ruby-throated hummingbirds timing their arrival for the sapwell bounty, BJ. I had a glorious day at Corkscrew Swamp in Feb. of 2011. It was pouring rain so few people were there, and we thoroughly enjoyed birding the boardwalk, seeing the numerous species that came through. Feasted our eyes on painted buntings at the feeder. Fun to hear about your woodpecker adventure here.

    • Glad you had the opportunity to enjoy this beautiful sanctuary in all of your many travels, Jet!
      I also found the connection between the hummingbirds and the woodpeckers to be so interesting.

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