Turner Cove Isle Au Haut, Maine


Now this didn't happen at the dock but there's not much happening
at the dock these days. This relates to a visitor who discovered
that there is a family of yellow-bellied sapsuckers living in our trees.

His first clue was to notice neat rows of holes in the bark of a poplar
tree. I had presumed these to be made by some ordinary woodpecker
prospecting for bugs. I figured the woodpecker would just tap along
until he heard some ants screeching in alarm and then he'd get serious
about excavating them.

But these sapsuckers don't have hooks on their tongues to excavate bugs
like ordinary woodpeckers so they are doomed to a vegetarian diet.
Those little holes they make exude sap and that's just what sapsuckers
like. They're pretty little birds and it's nice to know what they're up to.

Of course that sap attracts insects, too. So maybe these sapsuckers get
a little fresh protein along with their liquid diet. I don't know, but
sometime, when I'm old and unable to do anything else, perhaps I'll watch
and see what happens at these feeding places. Meantime, I'll go about my
business as they go about theirs.