Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Final on female sapsucker with close up video showing her drilling a sap well

So this female sapsucker that at first glance appeared to be a Yellow-bellied with her facial characteristics being more consistent with Yellow-bellied the other characteristics that are used by Project Sapsucker to identify hybrids (throat, nape, and upperparts) are all consistent with a hybrid Yellow-bellied X Red-naped Sapsucker. At least some identifications of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, including some of mine in the past, are made with more distant views that may miss such characteristics as the small amount of red feathers at the bottom of this bird's throat. Sapsuckers that winter in the Canon City and other areas of southern Colorado are unlikely to tolerate close approach for such views and flushing these birds from where they have sap wells is pretty intrusive. Use of spotting scopes with long telephoto lens is one good way to spot such characteristics and make accurate id's. Also long telephoto lens on cameras are good at revealing these difficult to view characteristics. This very short video clip shows this hybrid female sapsucker close-up as she works hard at drilling a sap well in a pine tree during that terribly cold weather on Dec 10---it had gone to 6 below zero F overnight in Canon City after days of below freezing temperatures and the temperature was in the single digits as she worked on this tree around 9 am that morning. The outer parts of that tree had to be frozen solid as she drilled away. SeEtta