Date: 4/3/21 7:06 am From: Bill Volkert <billvolkert11...> Subject: [wisb] Sapsuckers
Since the first sapsucker arrived on Wednesday it has been joined by several others. Yesterday I had two in the same tree along with a red-bellied and hairy woodpecker. One of the sapsuckers is already getting down to business as I saw him starting to excavate the first cavity in an aspen this morning. Over the years I have kept watch on several large basswood trees and am impressed how heavily they are drilled for sap. Some of these trees have been used for many years and bare the scars of repeated drilling for sap wells.
Basswood has a thin bark and is easy to peck into, but so are several other species of trees. Maples have a similar bark and produce an abundant quantity of sweet sap which humans have known about for a very long time. But is it simply that the maple sap has largely stopped flowing by the time sapsuckers arrive that they seek out other trees?
I also have seen sapsuckers tap ironwood trees. These produce a vivid pink to orange sap that clearly indicates that they have been drilled into. I know that at times fruit trees and even some evergreens are tapped by sapsuckers, but there seems to be a preference for a select variety of hardwoods at this time of year.