Saturday, March 1, 2008

Yellow-bellied Peanutsucker

Saturday, March 1, 2008
This lovely female yellow-bellied sapsucker has been visiting the peanut feeder irregularly during the past two weeks. Yesterday I caught a couple of images of her, shooting through the studio windows.

Back in 1992 when we first moved to this old farm, my birding mentor, Pat Murphy, gave us a homemade peanut feeder as a wedding gift. Her husband Bob had made it. It was mesh hardware cloth in a cylinder with the cut-off ends of a croquet mallet as the top and bottom. Peanut feeders like the one shown here were not commercially available in the U.S. at the time. However over in Europe, especially in the U.K. peanut feeding has been the central feature in any garden 'bird table', as they call them.

We got our first sapsucker that winter visiting Pat's feeder. What a thrill that was. Sapsuckers at our feeders have been few and far between since then. They are fascinating birds and I love the swoopy way they fly. In fact you can often identify a sapsucker just by the way it swoops into land in a tree. Of course the long white wing strip is pretty obvious, too.

We'll keep the peanuts out and hope the sapsucker feels like sticking around the farm until spring calls her back northward.


On March 1, 2008 at 6:13 AM KatDoc said...

Beautiful shots, Bill! I don't get YBSA at my rural home; too agricultural, not enough trees.

We had a female sapsucker visiting the Bradford pear tree outside the window at our office earlier in the winter, but I haven't seen her lately. I showed my boss' 4 year old daughter the sap wells in the trunk and told her about the bird.

"What is her name?" she asked.

"Yellow-bellied Sapsucker," I said, showing her a picture of a Downy Woodpecker in the junior field guide I keep at work. (The closest thing I had to a sapsucker picture.)

"No, what is her NAME?" she insisted.

"I don't know."

"Then, I will call her Rosie," she announced.

From the mouths of babes, to all the "Rosies" out there.

~Kathi, who will never understand why non-birders find the name "Yellow-bellied Sapsucker" so amusing

On March 1, 2008 at 6:40 AM Bill of the Birds said...

I hear you, KatDoc! I wish I had a recording of all the things our kids have said over the years that just knocked me out!

On March 1, 2008 at 8:43 AM littleorangeguy said...

Katdoc -- because it sounds funny! And it sounded even funnier when Yosemite Sam slung it as an insult to Bugs Bunny.

On March 1, 2008 at 11:34 AM World Bird Sanctuary said...

You have some hungry looking birds out there! Wonderful pictures.


On March 1, 2008 at 3:50 PM Anonymous said...

Right before checking your blog I was admiring a red-bellied woodpecker that has found our feeder over the last few days. I've never seen our cat's eyes grow so big (indoor cat) as when she spotted him. Nice mature red-bellied, rich red on the head. Anyway, that was an amazing shot of your sapsucker - with the other customer a blur in the background. Very cool. I may have to think about a peanut feeder!

On March 1, 2008 at 9:41 PM Mary said...

You really have some good photos here... I entertain red-bellied and downy's but haven't seen a yellow-bellied sapsucker visit my yard.

I have a nut feeder similar to yours and since I offered it, it's been quite busy. The woodpeckers and many others fly right by the suet cakes and head for the nuts!

On March 2, 2008 at 3:47 PM Mel said...

Nice pictures! I have no feders due to neighbour's cats :(

On March 2, 2008 at 8:42 PM nina at Nature Remains. said...

I'll give this a try.
We have the YBSA, but never at the suet feeders. It's frustrating.
I wanted him to appear for the GBBC, but he was a no-show.
Maybe I'll issue a special invitation--peanuts!

On March 3, 2008 at 4:51 PM Owlman said...

I've had downy, hairy, red bellied & pileated woodpecker in my garden but no Sapsucker. Nice shot of this cute little dude.