Date: 11/29/19 4:17 pm
From: Lee Rentz <lee...>
Subject: [Tweeters] One Leads, One Follows
This morning, November 29, I was gazing out the window at Fawn Lake when I saw a Red-breasted Sapsucker fly into a Western Redcedar, followed by a smaller bird. I thought, “that’s cool,” because I hadn’t seen a sapsucker here much in recent years. The sapsucker didn’t find what it was looking for and flew a short distance into an alder, again followed by a smaller bird. Then it flew again, this time to another cedar, followed closely by the smaller bird. My interest was piqued, and I watched closely as it flew once again into a Bigleaf Maple, followed about three feet behind … by an Anna’s Hummingbird! When it took off again for a higher flight up and away, it was still followed closely by the hummingbird, zooming 3-4 feet behind.

I checked with Cornell’s Birds of America online, and the behavioral description mentioned that Anna’s Hummingbirds will sometimes come and feed at recently excavated holes made by Red-breasted Sapsuckers, so it has been documented that they can be associated. But to see them in such close proximity like this, with the hummingbird following the sapsucker from place to place, hoping for a meal of sweet sap and associated insects, was simply astounding. Nature never ceases to amaze!

Lee Rentz
Shelton, WA
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