Red-naped Sapsucker – Neither A Sap Nor A Sucker

Neither A Sap Nor A Sucker

     Here is a bird I have not had an opportunity to photograph before called the Red-naped Sapsucker.  Both a male and a female of this species have been making the rounds in our yard this year and are quite fond of one of our cherry trees.

     Sapsuckers are members of the woodpecker clan and derive their odd name in part due to a penchant for tree sap.  But the moniker in its entirety seems a bit of a misnomer.  Sapsuckers aren’t really capable of sucking much of anything.

     Instead, their method for procurement of the sticky substance first involves chipping holes in a tree’s bark [called sap wells] which allow the liquid goo to accumulate … sort of like collecting maple syrup.  When it is time to harvest, the plucky bird doesn’t actually suck the ooze at all but instead uses its tongue tip to lap the fluid.

Neither a sap nor a sucker it be
Yet the sapsucker does girdle the tree

~ Anecdote and Red-naped Sapsucker capture, Neither A Sap Nor A Sucker © Jerry L. Ferrara