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Williamson's Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus thyroideus)

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Sapsuckers

Sapsuckers drill small holes in the bark of favored trees, then return again and again to eat the sap that flows out. And hummingbirds, kinglets, and warblers come to the sap wells to eat the insects trapped in the sap. Although a sapsucker - like this Red-breasted Sapsucker - may suck a tree's... read more »

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Williamson's Sapsucker

Williamson's Sapsuckers nest in western mountain forests. The radically different plumages of the male and female so confounded 19th-century naturalists that, for nearly a decade, the birds were thought to be of different species. Sapsuckers are unique among woodpeckers in drilling neat rows of... read more »

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Woodpeckers Love Ants

Woodpeckers - such as this Williamson's Sapsucker - eat far more ants than do most birds. Although many other vertebrates avoid ants because of their stings or the foul taste, the Northern Flicker is known to have ingested over five thousand ants in one sitting! A woodpecker's sticky tongue can... read more »

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Drumming with Woodpeckers - West

Early spring in the West resounds with the percussive hammering of woodpeckers. Their rhythmic drumming functions as other birds' songs do, to broadcast over a long distance a clear statement of territory and mating rights. Learn about this Pileated Woodpecker and the others in this show - the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, sound

Woodpecker Wonderland

When it comes to woodpeckers, nature has been very generous to the Northwest. Some areas, like the Okanogan region in north-central Washington, host among the highest diversities of woodpecker species anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere. You may spot the diminutive Downy Woodpecker or the... read more »

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Sapsuckers and Sap

Sapsuckers, a specialized group of woodpeckers, don’t actually suck sap. After pecking neat rows of small holes in trees to cause the sugary liquid to flow, the birds lick it up with tongues tipped with stiff hairs. So why doesn’t a sapsucker’s beak get stuck shut? Part of the answer may lie in... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science
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