Thursday, February 28, 2013

Myth of the Yellow Bellied Sapsucker

For many in my generation, Yosemite Sam immortalized the Yellow Bellied Sapsucker as the epitome of cowardice and generalized despicableness with his half-crazed rants calling out Bugs Bunny in the old Looney Tunes cartoons.

Departing the park yesterday, we spotted this handsome male adjacent to the parking area, flitting from one young hickory to another, apparently checking its sap holes for food.

It never came near enough (or remained stationary long enough) for a great shot, but it was such a striking individual, I thought I'd share the few images I did capture.

In this last photo, the sap holes are clearly visible; they were made previously, and this fellow seemed to be "making his rounds" to check for sap, or perhaps insects trapped in the sap which had flowed since his last visit.

I saw nothing in my brief encounter to reinforce the low-down, cowardly impression of the sapsucker perpetuated by old Yosemite Sam. To the contrary, I was most impressed by the beauty, grace and ingenuity of this fine creature. Guess you can't believe everything you hear on TV...

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