The yellow-bellied sapsucker was here. We have just pruned out about seventy-five percent of the branches of this black pussy willow, Salix melanostachys—now dead, done in by the woodpecker’s orderly circles of holes, made while seeking nourishment. When did this happen? Probably this winter, according to naturalist Tait Johansson at the Bedford Audubon Society in Katonah, New York. I am unhappy to learn that willows, apples and birches are this small striped bird’s favorite trees. Sure enough, some of our semi-dwarf apple trees have a few necklaces of holes, and the large old apple at the edge of our spit of woodland is riddled with them. Tait says that big trees are not harmed by the sapsucker’s drillings, and, on the bright side, hummingbirds among other feathered friends benefit from his work.
Posted on: April 11, 2011 By