Archive for December 26th, 2012


Photography: the sapsucker and the hummingbird

The other day, I glanced out the back windows of my house looking for that Blue Heron I had seen the week before. No heron. Instead, I did see a ‘woodpecker’ banging away on a Russian ornamental tree. How interesting I thought. I will see if I can snap a photo or two of this bird. I grabbed the camera and snuck outside. Creeping along toward the tree I took shots of the bird. What I also saw was a hummingbird flitting about the woodpecker…a red headed woodpecker.

I was shooting into the low, bright light, but I got a few shots. I decided to research the woodpecker…the red headed one and low and behold I discovered the sapsucker. What a pest this bird is apparently. Those neat rings of holes around the tree are a bad thing for the tree, but not for the sapsucker or hummingbird it appears. 

I took 22 shots in all, but not one shows that flittering hummingbird. The sapsucker was unconcerned by my presence unlike the heron the week before. 

RED Head WPkr SB

xRed Head Wpkr 2 SB

“A sapsucker’s tongue is adapted with stiff hairs for collecting the sap. Red-Breasted Sapsuckers visit the same tree multiple times, drilling holes in neat horizontal rows. A bird will leave and come back later, when the sap has started flowing from the holes. Repeated visits over an extended period of time can actually kill the tree. The insects attracted to the sap are also consumed, and not only by sapsuckers. Rufous Hummingbirds, for example, have been observed to follow the movements of sapsuckers and take advantage of this food source.” (X)


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December 2012

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