Gr. pikos woodpecker
La. picus woodpecker
Gr. Circe, mythological daughter
of Helios, changed Picus, son
of Saturn, into a woodpecker
La. forma form, shape, kind
Gr. sphura hammer
La. varius variegated, multi-
Louis Agasiz Fuertes
Scarlet-red crown and throat (some females have a black crown and a white
throat), white nape, black breast, pale-lemon sometimes speckled belly,
black stripped wings and back, 8 - 9 inches.
Lives from southeast Alaska and the Yukon,
to James Bay, to eastern Quebec almost to Newfoundland, and from Minnesota and Iowa to
throughout the Appalachians up to Maine, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Winters in
Nests in deep tree cavities (as much as 18 - 20 inches) which it
bores from just out of reach to twenty or thirty, sometimes over fifty feet high, often in
live aspen and poplar or dead birch trees in woodlands with other deciduous trees (aspen,
birch, poplar, willow, etc.) mixed with coniferous trees (spruce). Sometimes it nests in
orchards or residential areas.
Lays five or six, more or less, white eggs once per year which hatch after
less than two weeks incubation and young leave the nest in about another
four weeks, a relatively long brood season.
Feeds on sap from a wide range of trees, including alder, birch, maple,
poplar, wild apple and many other fruit and ornamental trees.
Makes systematic patterns of holes which
it returns to feed from with its long bushy tongue.
insects attracted to sap dripping from its holes or ones that simply inhabit trees, and
those it catches in aerial chases. Occasionally eats berries and other fruit, and the soft
pulpy layer under the bark of fruit trees. Sometimes they eat slugs.
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Nestbox measurements: 5" by 5" square base, 12"
to the ceiling with a 1.5" inch hole centered 10" above the floor - inside dimensions.
Assembled with corrosion resistant screws fit to pre-drilled countersunk pilot
holes. Hinged roof is secured with shutter hooks for easy access.
in woodland edges near clearings within the proximity of lowlands and water, from just out
of reach to twenty feet - no more than can safely be reached and returned to for yearly
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Nestbox
Installations out of reach should be installed and maintained by professionals: carpenters,
electricians, power line workers, etc.
Since the Sapsucker often excavates new cavities
(often in the same tree), it might make sense to fill the box with wood chips, or half
full, it's debated. While the chances of attracting a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in some
areas may be slim, other woodpeckers, fly catchers, even titmice and nuthatches may use