Sit still in nature, in just one spot, and not only will your senses be renewed, she will come to visit you. And so it was, while lazily enjoying bluebirds and unseasonably warm sunshine, first the distinctive “cheerrrr”, then a Yellow Bellied Sapsucker appeared. A rare nesting species in the Unicoi Mountains of east Tennessee, its southern most range, the sapsucker winters in the state from September through May.
As his undignified name implies, the sapsucker feeds primarily on tree sap, a drilling achievement that has entertained scientists for years, since, despite much effort, they’ve been unable to duplicate this free flowing release of sap. Biologists now believe there may be an anti-coagulant in the sapsucker’s saliva that is the secret to its ability to keep tree sap from clogging. Representing one of nature’s hard-working neighborly sorts among birds, the trail of sap the sapsucker leaves behind benefits other birds and animals who feed on the sap and the insects attracted to it.
This White-breasted nuthatch, also feeding nearby, is one species that benefits from the sapsucker's efforts.
What a different world this would be if the human species shared resources so readily.