SE Colorado Birding

Birding and discussion: A conservation-oriented birding blog that emphasizes low-impact birding and sustainable birding practices together with the enjoyment of birds. Southeast Colorado offers a diversity of habitats which provide premiere birding opportunities. Save Sabal Palm

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sunny Canon City Sapsuckers

Yesterday, after a frigid overnight low of minus 8 degrees (not the worst, I remember going to minus 17 degrees in 1996), the snow stopped and the sun came out so I drove around town to all the locations where I had found sapsuckers before I went to So Texas. I first found the bird in the top pic, a female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at Centennial Park. It's white throat is puffed out because it was making its "churr" call at me (though I was in my car and 50 feet away).

I next drove to Canon City's Lakeside Cemetery where I found the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in the middle pic. This sapsucker was working (tapping holes) in deciduous tree. I watched it for about 5 minutes from my car so I did not disturb the bird. It appeared to "taste" a number of locations around this tree, apparently not liking most locations and quickly moving to a branch more to its liking where it drilled several sap wells.

After checking Rouse Park (though I saw a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker there in November, I didn't see one Monday and there were few fresh sap-wells in trees in the area so I don't think a sapsucker has been working this area much lately), I drove to the Holy Cross Abbey a few miles away. There I saw the female Red-naped Sapsucker in the bottom photo.

I think it is interesting to compare the back patterns of the Yellow-bellied and Red-naped Sapsuckers in these photos. Though I have previously felt that Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers have distinctive white stripes down their backs, these pics show that the Red-naped Sapsucker's white stripes are cleaner and without the "laddering" of black feathers found in the Yellow-bellies back.

Be sure to double click (a recent improved feather of blogspot that I think is pretty neat) on the photos to enlarge them for full benefit, especially to fully appreciate the deep red on the Red-naped Sapsucker's head.

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