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Last of the Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers Migrating

Most of us in northern New England are probably seeing the last of the Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers that nested here this summer.   Unlike most species of woodpeckers (which are year-round residents), a majority of sapsuckers that breed this far north end up migrating further south; southern U.S. and Central America are where most of them overwinter. Females have been observed migrating before males, and spending the winter further south than males.  We don’t often see sapsuckers migrating, as they do so at night and are relatively quiet when flying.  Occasionally you may come upon one during the day resting motionless on a tree, or even briefly drumming.

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5 responses

  1. Alice

    They must have great eye sight & not be scared, to fly at night.

    October 28, 2019 at 9:15 am

  2. I still have a immature Heron here on the north shore of Lake Ontario. I have been seeing him fly over my backyard for 2 weeks now. I can tell he is flying from pond to pond looking for food. The frogs are in the mud now and the fish are scarce, so I doubt if it will make the migration. I thought after yesterday’s rain and cold I would not see it again, but this morning it flew over on the way to another pond.

    October 28, 2019 at 12:05 pm

    • Wow. Hope the instinct to migrate kicks in soon. So sorry for its plight!

      October 28, 2019 at 12:26 pm

  3. Sue Wetmore

    I have had two sapsuckers here at my feeders this past week. The winter of 2017-18 a male sapsucker was at my suet daily. One extremely cold morning the bird had tucked its head into its feathers and appeared headless!

    October 29, 2019 at 7:23 am

  4. Bill On The Hill

    Hi Mary… This bird brings to mind the smaller Downy & the larger Hairy woodpeckers I will see after I get my suet cakes hung up…
    With this late in the season warm weather this month I have held off putting anything out just yet.
    I counted (11) Robins in the field this morning under very wet drizzly conditions here in the highlands…
    Bill… :~)

    October 29, 2019 at 9:14 am

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