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Monday, April 05, 2010

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker arrival

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, male, the female looks similar but has a white chin and throat.

Migrant birds are continuing to arrive here in southern NH. We had a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker arrive here in late afternoon. We were alerted to it by on of it's more striking calls, which we've described as "like the music in the shower scene in the movie Psycho." This sapsucker also makes a drumming sound of a short burst then irregular beats, a descending catlike mew, and other calls.

Sapsuckers make a line of horizontal holes in the bark of a tree trunk, then drink the sap from the wells. Guess who also drinks from those wells? Ruby-throated Hummingbirds do. Early migrating Rubythroats take advantage of this sugar source, available before flowers, their usual source of nectar, have bloomed.

A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker has bred for several years in a row, in the woods behind our barn. We're looking forward to seeing it breed this year. What spring migrants are you seeing arrive in your area?

4 comments:

Ellen said...

Yesterday was a beautiful day for birding here in upstate New York! "First-of-spring" species that we saw at a local nature preserve included Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, Eastern Phoebe, Hermit Thrush, Field Sparrow, and Tree Swallow. Palm Warblers are being reported in our area, but we did not see any.

Ashira deSembre said...

D: Sapsuckers? I'm jealous! They're supposed to live in my area but I've never seen one. Maybe this year...

Vincent Saponar said...

Great picture. Thanks for sharing. We've had some Sapsucker sightings in Morris COunty NJ over the last couple of days as well. Vince at http://www.onesourceoptics.com

Kristi said...

I live west of Oshkosh, WI and every morning for the last 2 weeks there has been a bird drumming on stovepipes and drainpipes. I got a good look at it this morning and it appears to be a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, the first I've ever seen. I took a photo of him and video and I have to see how well they turned out. He seems quite comical the way he acts and drums, then flies off to the trees. I hope this means there is a nest nearby.