Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) is the second featured woodpecker for my ‘A Bestiary’ – antidotal tales and more about the wildlife living in and around Flower Hill Farm Retreat. You can read more about these valuable birds by clicking on Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens. These industrious members of the Picidae family contribute to the bird community in surprising ways.
It is easy to see the inspiration behind the name ‘Yellow-bellied’.
A male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker tending his wells.
A female (without a red cap) visiting the same wells . . . the patterns they drill are quite artistic and so far do not appear to hurt the Hawthorn tree. The rectangular carvings are a mystery to me.
An immature Yellow-bellied Sapsucker on a Crabapple tree in the small orchard . . . note the carefully drilled holes placed in tidy rows. The white band on the wings are not yet fully developed . . . this is a telltale sign that marks this woodpecker from other woodpeckers.
Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers have been part of the community of birds here at Flower Hill Farm for as long as I can remember and we have been here since 1978. Not one tree has ever been lost due to their bill work. If you have time you may enjoy learning more by visiting the site above.
Carol Duke is an artist and farmer who has worked with the land on a Western Massachusetts hillside for over thirty years. During this time her land has evolved into a diverse wildlife habitat. Carol features the flora and fauna that live and visit her farm on her blog http://flowerhillfarm.blogspot.com/ As vital wildlife habitats are destroyed daily, Carol hopes to inspire others to garden for wildlife, while becoming activists for wild places the world over. Her nature photography has appeared in magazines, books and newspapers.
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