Saturday, May 02, 2009

Just passing through

If I'm reading my copy of Stan Tekiela's Birds of Wisconsin right, this is a yellow-bellied sapsucker. It's a migrator, passing through on the way to northern Wisconsin and points north. It operates differently from most woodpeckers, by drilling holes to tap tree sap, which it which it doesn't suck but rather laps up, as do other birds. It also eats the insects the sap attracts. Unlike other woodpeckers, its drumming rhythm is irregular. "A quiet bird with few vocalizations, but will meow like a cat," says Tekiela in one of those wry observations that makes his books such a delight.

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