[Tweeters] Sapsucker Behavior

Steve Ellis sellis at coup.wednet.edu
Fri Jul 8 09:01:30 PDT 2005


While camped in the Blue Mts last week week we were able to observe a female
Williamson's Sapsucker at close range. The bird picked up a small white
object and flew to a nearby tree where it stuck it in a bark crevice. It
hammered on the object for a few seconds then flew to the ground to eat
ants. This was the 1st time I'd ever seen a Williamson's on the ground in
flicker-fashion. After the bird left we went over and discovered the item in
question was a piece of hard plastic.
  The question is: Why would a sapsucker pick up something white and thin
off the ground? My theory is that it resembled a bone fragment and was
trying to gain some sort of mineral such as calcium. Any other answers?
 It is also a reminder  that litter, even in it's smallest forms, can be
detrimental to wildlife. We always try to leave a campsite cleaner than we
found it.
Steve Ellis
sellis at coup.wenet.edu 


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