Sapsuckers.-- Recently we installed a bird feeding station just south of the Chapter House. While we were working on it, an IWLA member asked if the suet feeders we were installing would attract Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (YBSS). The answer is yes, they come readily to suet feeders in our area. They are only here during fall, winter and spring, preferring to nest in higher latitudes and altitudes. The member was concerned because the YBSS is often accused of destroying ornamental and fruit trees with its regularly spaced feeding holes. Research indicates that they prefer to feed on already stressed threes and shrubs and tend to leave healthy trees alone. Attracting them to our feeding station will allow us to band them and possibly learn more about their behavior and feeding preferences. I have linked two articles on sapsuckers and a painting of a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker to this note.
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker [link]
The painting below by Louis Agassiz Fuertes is of the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (male and female at top) and two of its western relatives, Red-naped (lower left) and Red Breasted (lower right).
Williamson's Sapsucker [link]
This painting by Louis Agassiz Fuertes is of a male (top) and female (lower) Williamsons Sapsucker- a western species.