I didn’t have a great view when I first spotted this pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers. I was pretty sure the one on the right zipped into that hole while I maneuvered around the tree between us.
I watched for him to come out before turning my attention to the other one as he was pecking on the tree. Then I could hear the second one calling.
The question then was to keep watching the first subject or risk missing some action there and look for the second. I succumbed to looking and he eventually popped up behind this branch. Or was there the whole time and I just didn’t notice.
He quickly flew off. Meanwhile the first one had moved a little higher, paused a moment, then also flew off.
Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are named for their behavior of drilling small holes in trees then drinking the sap that runs into the wells. They get most of their food that way but also feed on insects they find under tree bark.
I’ve seen them peck at bark, mostly on the rough-barked trees and was surprised to see this one bobbing into a tree cavity. He was just about disappearing from my view as he reached in.
I didn’t see what, if anything, the Sapsucker was finding, but he kept at it for longer than I watched.
Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers visually blend into the surface of the rough-barked trees. These two images were taken in different places over a month apart.
I heard the tat-tat-tat of pecking at the bark first, then watched for the flash of red to help me spot them. Sapsuckers tend to spiral around the tree looking for food, sometimes at a pretty fast pace leaving the photographer to guess where they will pop back around.