Red-breasted Sapsucker

Sphyrapicus ruber

 Red-breasted sapsucker wells on a tan oak tree. Photo by
        Kim A. Cabrera. March 2002.

The photo above shows the most commonly found
sign of this bird's presence - sapsucker "wells" on a tree.



Natural History of Red-breasted Sapsuckers




Red-breasted sapsucker feeding on a tree


Red-breasted sapsucker. Photo copyright Kim
                        A. Cabrera 2008.

Red-breasted sapsucker drumming on a post.


Sapsucker wells on apple tree. Photo
                        copyright by Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

Sapsucker wells on an old apple tree.

sapsucker tending wells
A sapsucker tending his wells
sapsucker feeding sign
Fresh sapsucker feeding sign
wells created by sapsucker
Wells created by sapsucker on a bay tree
Close-up showing freshly opened wells
Close-up showing freshly opened wells
Freshly opened wells
Freshly opened wells

red breasted sapsucker in tree. Photo
                        copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

Red-breasted sapsucker in a tree bearing the scars of his well. Sapsuckers open these wells, which are then used by hummingbirds as an easy food source.

Sapsicker feeding high in a tree. Photo
                        copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

Notice the fresh openings in the tree where this sapsucker is feeding.


Sapsucker and well. Photo copyright Kim A.
                        Cabrera 2008.

Close-up showing the holes the sapsucker has opened.


Sapsucker feeding from a hole. Photo
                        copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

The sapsucker made a small hole then stuck its beak in to feed.


Claws allow the sapsucker to cling to the
                        bark. Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

These claws allow the bird to grip the bark and hang on firmly to a tree.

Video of red-breasted sapsucker feeding



Personal Notes on Red-breasted Sapsuckers


The bird in the photos recently returned after being away most of the winter. The holes in this oak tree had sealed themselves over and were beginning to heal when the bird returned. He immediately opened up the holes again and let the sap flow. He spends quite a large portion of his day clinging to this tree and eating from the wells he has pecked out.
 sapsucker wells
sapsucker wells


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Copyright 1997, 2008, 2018. Text, photos, videos, and drawings by Kim A. Cabrera