Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Red-breasted Sapsucker in Washington for Christmas

Merry Christmas all! I didn't really expect to have a Christmas bird today, but later on in the afternoon I walked to a park in Renton, just south of Seattle, Washington. I heard a drumming in the pines over my head, and was lucky enough to spot a Red-breasted Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber) high above. I got a couple of shots before it disappeared.

The Red-breasted Sapsucker is a bird of the West Coast, ranging from Southern California to Alaska, but never ranging farther east than the Sierra or the Cascades. They prefer the lower elevations of coniferous forests. The "sapsucker" name refers to their practice of drilling a linear series of holes in tree trucks that starts sap running. The birds then can consume the sap itself (by lapping it up, not sucking) or feeding on the bugs that become trapped in the sap.
It was a pleasant Christmas surprise to see a new bird, the third new bird seen on this trip!

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