Posts Tagged ‘male and female’

I was doing yard work yesterday, when I noticed a White-breasted nuthatch entering and leaving the Screech Owl House I put up 3 years ago. It is 24 feet above the ground. It has been previously occupied by a Screech Owl (in the winter), and a Gray Squirrel. I stopped and sat down to watch; and soon it was apparent that there was more than one bird. I went to the house to get my camera and headed back out to watch and get a few photos. In the end, I got 250 photos using my Canon 50D and Canon 400 f/5.6 (which is quickly becoming my “GO TO” camera for moving and nesting birds.

After watching and shooting images for an hour, I realized how comical these birds are. I already knew the spent lots of time in an “up-side down” position; coming from top to bottom of trees. They continued to amaze me with the upside down antics yesterday. The female (alone) builds the nest, a multilayered cup, lays the eggs (of course), and incubates them with no help from the male. His job appears to be “Lookout or Guard” and he feeds the female while she is on the nest; neither of which he does with much enthusiasm.

After one 45 minute session without him showing up to feed her, she hung out at the doorway, looking for him, when he finally returned he was scolded badly. One time she finally left the nest and came back with him. (the last 2 photos are of the female leaving the nest box to find the male) – notice how dirty and rusty her tail section and breast are !

Here area few photos of my encounter with them yesterday 4/5/14:
















IMG_6708 IMG_6713





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I took these on Friday, one week ago, along Murray Road with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF400L Lens. The Male looks a little beaten up and the fmale is beautiful.I only get to see these wonderful birds in the very early spring while they migrate north to their breeding grounds:

Male (first), then Female (second) Yellow Bellied Sapsucker



From Cornell Labs:

On a walk through the forest you might spot rows of shallow holes in tree bark. In the East, this is the work of the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, an enterprising woodpecker that laps up the leaking sap and any trapped insects with its specialized, brush-tipped tongue. Attired sharply in barred black-and-white, with a red cap and (in males) throat, they sit still on tree trunks for long intervals while feeding. To find one, listen for their loud mewing calls or stuttered drumming.

Cool Facts

  • The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker makes two kinds of holes in trees to harvest sap. Round holes extend deep in the tree and are not enlarged. The sapsucker inserts its bill into the hole to probe for sap. Rectangular holes are shallower, and must be maintained continually for the sap to flow. The sapsucker licks the sap from these holes, and eats the cambium of the tree too. New holes usually are made in a line with old holes, or in a new line above the old.
  • The sapwells made by Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers attract hummingbirds, which also feed off the sap flowing from the tree. In some parts of Canada, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds rely so much on sapwells that they time their spring migration with the arrival of sapsuckers. Other birds as well as bats and porcupines also visit sapsucker sapwells.
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers have been found drilling sapwells in more than 1,000 species of trees and woody plants, though they have a strong preference for birches and maples.
  • The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker frequently uses human-produced materials to help in its territorial drumming. Street signs and metal chimney flashing amplify the irregular tapping of a territorial sapsucker. The sapsucker seems to suffer no ill effects of whacking its bill on metal, and a bird will return to a favorite sign day after day to pound out its Morse code-like message.
  • The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is the only woodpecker in eastern North America that is completely migratory. Although a few individuals remain throughout much of the winter in the southern part of the breeding range, most head farther south, going as far south as Panama. Females tend to migrate farther south than do males.
  • The oldest known Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was 7 years, 9 months old. It was banded in New Jersey and found 6 years later in South Carolina.

In spring and summer, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers favor young forests and edge habitat, especially areas regenerating from timber harvesting. There they find lots of fast-growing trees ripe for sapwells (and since they can spend half their time or more tending to or feeding from their sapwells, sapsuckers needs lots of trees for tapping). So unlike most woodpecker species, sapsuckers don’t rely on dead trees for feeding, although they do search for trees with decayed heartwood or dead limbs for their cavity nests. On their wintering grounds, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers aren’t as selective in habitat, as they’re found from bottomland hardwood forests to as high as 10,000 feet, though never in pure conifer stands. In winter, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers can be found in forests of hickory or pines and oaks.


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