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BirdNote: Sapsuckers And Hummingbirds

Copyright Duane Bryce/Vitaliy-Khushtochka
A ruby-throated hummingbird (left) and a sapsucker (right).

The sapsucker is a type of woodpecker that notches rows of small holes in trees, causing sap to well out. The birds eat the sugary liquid flowing from these sapwells. Now tree sap is similar in sugar content to the nectar hummingbirds take from flowers. And it is no coincidence that just as the Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers get their sapwells flowing in spring, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds come migrating north. Several species of hummingbirds partake of the bounty of sap released by sapsuckers, even nesting close to active sapwells and following the sapsuckers as they fly from one sap tree to another.

Broadcast on Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 9:35 a.m.

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