Sphyrapicus ruber

  

A herald of spring, sapsucker drumming announces the end of winter in Southeast Alaska. Many people mistakenly think the sapsucker is foolish for trying to “drill” into metal siding, lampposts, and other loud materials. In fact, the sapsucker chooses the noisiest objects to advertise their presence to rivals and mates. When feeding, they only make a quiet pecking sound.

   This woodpecker provides an important service to many other animals. Abandoned woodpecker holes provide nests for other birds including some ducks and small owls. The sapsucker’s tendency to drill trees for the sweet sap can also provide meals for hummingbirds and other opportunists.