Red-Breasted Sapsucker

The neighbor next to Sanat's World News World Headquarters has a nice Fuyu Persimmon tree. He only picked one shopping bag-full this fall and offered a u pick ’em, all-you-can-eat feast to us, the other neighbors, and most of all, the local population of critters. We picked about four bags and gave them away to friends. Still, the tree remains full of soft, ripe persimmons. Lots of persimmons.

The local Western Gray Squirrels are taking their persimmons to the crown of the roof of our neighbors house where they eat a few bites, and then leave the rest for later. Quite a few up there now! Hummingbirds are sipping the juice from opened persimmons, Scrub Jays, Steller’s Jays, Mockingbirds, Sparrows, and our local Red-breasted Sapsucker.

It took me quite a while to figure out just what this critter was. They are very shy. Scooting away from view on the tree branch, they will peek around to see if you’re gone. But with all this abundant fruit, the one who has claimed the tree seems much bolder. He stays in the tree almost all day, calling with a mew-like sound.

Sapsuckers spend most of their time eating out of sapwells they peck in the limbs of trees. Two Winters ago, a Sapsucker created so many wells in our almond tree that when Spring arrived, the tree nearly died. Oh well. Their cuteness absolves them of all crimes against all. For more on the Red-breasted Sapsucker, check out Whatbird.com, Bear-tracker.com, which has a nice animation of a bird sucking sap, and All About Birds from Cornell which has the best sound file.