The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is just one of seven woodpeckers we see here in Ohio. Apart from the other six which are year-round residents, these sapsuckers can only regularly be seen here during spring migration as a quick stop-over to their breeding grounds just to the north side of the lake, and again on a return flight to their wintering grounds during fall migration. There are very rare instances where they can be found over-wintering or even nesting in northern Ohio. If you’re lucky you might catch one for a brief moment at your bird feeder or suet right now! Just last week they began to hit the lakeshore here and I was lucky enough find a few hanging around the Lakeview Beach area.
Named for its habit of drinking up sap running from the holes that it drills into trees, the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker inadvertently provides sap to a host of other creatures, including hummingbirds, warblers, butterflies and other insects, squirrels, and chipmunks. These ‘sap wells’ also catch ants and spiders for the bird to consume.
Most often the males drill out a nesting cavity which takes about 2-3 weeks. A nesting pair will manage 4-6 eggs once per year and often times will reunite, but not always, for the following year.
Cool fact: A group of sapsuckers is called a “slurp”!
More local bird photos and information coming soon.