Woodpeckers Class

The Sapsucker chick awaits its turn at the Orange.

The Sapsucker chick awaits its turn at the Orange.


This morning I had no time to bird, so I spent a little time watching my yard birds. I really enjoy watching the woodpeckers as they teach their young where to find a good meal. The only food I provide at this time of year is Oranges and nectar. Three species of woodpeckers are currently educating their young. The Red-bellied Woodpeckers and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are spending long periods at the oranges. I knew they were feeding them to their young by the constant back and forth flights from the tree. The last few days, they have been bringing the young to the oranges with increased frequency. The male Red-bellied and the female Sapsucker took turns this morning showing the young how to eat the oranges. The Catbirds hardly had a chance to get in. The Red-bellied chicks (two) quickly picked up the technique, as did the sapsucker (just one this morning). By mid morning, all of the chicks were coming to the oranges on their own, pulling the pulp out and gulping it down. The Downy Woodpeckers don’t eat the oranges. Instead, they feast at the Hummingbird feeders whenever they can squeeze in among the eight or so hummingbirds feeding. The Downy’s have just started to bring their chicks to the feeders, but I have yet to see a chick be able to hold on. I suspect it will only be a short time before they are hanging from the feeders too.
The male Red-bellied teaches his chick how to eat the orange.

The male Red-bellied teaches his chick how to eat the orange.

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