[Tweeters] Red-breasted Sapsucker behavior question

Paul Bannick paul.bannick at gmail.com
Wed Dec 30 18:11:11 PST 2015

Hi Linda,

Nice observation.
Sapsuckers put lots of energy into creating and maintaining these wells, so
they are also vigilant about protecting this resource at a time when insect
and flower food is more scarce. Lots of other animals including other
birds, rodents, and insects are drawn to this "free food". Thieving
insects sometimes find themselves in the bills of the woodpeckers and are
sometimes dipped in the sap before consumed.


On Wed, Dec 30, 2015 at 5:16 PM, Linda Phillips <linda_phillips1252 at msn.com>


> In my neighborhood there are two maple trees about 20 feet apart, that

> I’ve come to know of as reliable places to see Red-breasted Sapsuckers

> feeding at this time of year. (and occasionally a hummingbird too) The base

> of each of these trees is literally dripping with sap that is oozing from

> the sapsucker’s wells. One of the trees is two trunked. One of those trunks

> is a dead stump 10-12 feet tall. Tonight as I approached I could hear the

> RBSA calling repeatedly. Looking for the source of the calls I saw a bird

> on the top of the broken stump. I assumed this to be the sapsucker but soon

> realized that it was a robin and the RBSA’s incessant calls were continuing

> from a nearby tree. After a few more calls from the sapsucker the robin

> moved on and the sapsucker immediately quieted down and flew to his wells.


> It looked like he was driving the robin away; not wanting it perched above

> him as he fed. Does anyone know if this is typical behavior for RBSA? Or do

> you have any other explanation? Or do you think it was a coincidence?


> Linda Phillips

> Kenmore




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Paul L. Bannick
Nature and Bird Photography
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