The Yellow Bellied Sapsucker
The Yellow Bellied Sapsucker drills neat rows of horizontal and vertical holes in trees to obtain the sap. Learn all about them!
The Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker is a medium sized woodpecker with white wing patches and a black head. They have white stripes that extend down the neck. Adults show a yellow belly and have a bright red forehead. Easily distinguished by their black upper breast and upper parts except for white stripes on head, the bird carries bars on the back and tail. Most have a white rump. The males throat is red and the females is white. Immatures are brown but share wing patches.
Widespread and common in forests and wooded areas. Sapsuckers drill neat rows of horizontal and vertical holes in trees to obtain the sap. Because of the damage they do to trees, the Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker is considered a pest in some areas. The holes they drill not only does damage to the trees but also opens the tree up to attack by destructive insect. At one time these birds were readily destroyed on site which has led some states to pass laws to protect them. They may occasionally feed on insects but their preference is tree sap.
Like most woodpeckers the Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker nest in tree spaces they have hollowed out. The nest is usually found between thirty and forty feet above the ground and consist of a horizontal tunnel descending to a wider chamber. The female will lay three to five yellowish white eggs using a thin layer of wood chips for the nesting materials. The male is very protective of the hatchlings, making sure there is no danger about before he feeds them. Like most woodpeckers they are distinguished by the loud drumming sound they make while seeking tree sap for food. The are highly migratory within the North American continent and will often return to the same trees during migration.