Species of the Week: The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

This week’s #SpeciesoftheWeek is the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius), one of the most brilliant woodpeckers we have in the park! Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are medium-sized woodpeckers with distinct, beautiful colouration, as well as a name-giving yellow belly. They are most common in young forests and along edge habitats, as young, fast growing trees are great places to look for their favourite meal… sap! They drill both circular and rectangular wells, often in sick or wounded birch, maple and hickory trees, and then lap up the sap that comes out… that’s right, sapsuckers love maple syrup just as much as we do! They will also eat insects they find below bark or in their sap wells. Interestingly, by creating these holes sapsuckers make sap available to many other animals that love this sweet liquid. Bats, squirrels, warblers, nuthatches, hummingbirds and many others come to eat at the ‘sapsucker cafe’, and lots of insects are attracted to the sap as well, attracting yet more birds that eat them. Sapsuckers nest in trees, usually picking those that are suffering from a fungal disease that makes heavy-duty excavating easier. Females have one brood per year, each clutch being 4-6 eggs large. We often see sapsuckers along the Silver Queen Mine Trail. Have you ever seen one of these lovely birds?

This entry was posted in Friends of Murphys Point, Murphys Point, Murphys Point Provincial Park, Species of the Week. Bookmark the permalink.

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