[Tweeters] Sapsucker aggression

Jack Stephens jstephens62 at comcast.net
Mon Dec 22 22:04:10 PST 2008

Yesterday Andrea Wuenschel wrote:

"9am- later on in the morning I went out to clear the car of snow, and I
heard a commotion behind me--the sapsuckers were on the ground, duking it
out to the death! Feet were locked, wings were flapping, and one had its
bill biting the chest of the other. I took a few steps toward the scene and
they parted and flew back to the spruce tree, complaining. Later on coming
back from my walk to Bitter Lake, I saw one sapsucker fly across from a
neighbor's yard, and one still at the spruce wells. I guess the loser
conceded and got a different tree, rather than risk it anymore."

I saw the same behavior underneath our backyard feeder yesterday, two
Red-breasted Sapsuckers on their sides on the ground, wings flapping and
trying to peck at each other. After a moment one fly away, with the other in
hot pursuit. I assume this aggression is over feeding territory. Is this a
known behavior for this species? Why don't we see other birds do this?

Jack Stephens
Edmonds, Wa
jstephens62 at comcast.net

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