Many folks are surprised to learn that the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is a real bird and not just a derogatory name for a cowardly cowboy. You can see from the photo that it is a woodpecker but the yellow belly is not prominent. The name sapsucker comes from its habit of drilling holes in neat little rows on birch and maple trees in spring. Sweet sap oozes from the tiny wounds and the sapsucker laps up the sugary treat with a brush-tipped tongue. They actually have a route of trees that they make the rounds of, taking in not only sap but also eating insects attracted to the sap. Hummingbirds will also visit oozing sapsucker holes to eat the sap and insects.

I found this nest cavity by listening for the sound of the loudly begging young inside. Their loud “cheeps” are like the crying of a hungry baby…The simply want to be fed. The male and female visited the cavity about every 15 minutes or so. This is a male as told by his red throat. His bill is stuffed with ants.

Canon 7D, 400mm lens with 1.4x extender, flash with Better Beamer, tripod.

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