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And yes, they do have yellow bellies, although they're more yellowish than pure, bright yellow. Several Seabrook Island Birders have reported the return of another winter resident ...the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. When feeding, they lick at the wells or may forage on the ground for ants or hawk insects from the air. We get lots of calls asking about the rings of shallow holes on trees, such as in the photo below that was taken outside the TreeFolks office. Yellow-bellied sapsuckers tap small holes into the bark of trees to get them to ooze their sugary sap, which these birds lap up, along with any bugs that might get caught in the sticky stuff. But yellow-bellied sapsuckers are real creatures. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - Sphyrapicus variusLength: 7.1-8.7"; Wingspan: 13.4-15.7"; Weight: 1.5-1.9 oz. As their name implies, sapsuckers use their sharp beaks to tap into trees that contain sap and feed off it. Yellow-bellied sapsuckers are super interesting, because in the Spring they use those chisel-like beaks to make precisely rounded deep holes into trees (they like over 1,000 species of trees, but mostly they prefer maples and soft woods that have a good sap flow) in horizontal rows. Yellow-bellied sapsuckers will frequently return to old holes to get more sap and keep them flowing. Although colors vary between individual birds, sapsuckers are readily identified by a long white stripe down their closed wings that is visible when they are perched on a tree. I have written about birds called Sapsuckers, primarily Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers.I have received several questions this year regarding the damage that these members of the wood pecker family inflicts upon trees (There are over 250 species of trees that they will feed on during the year) and what can be done to stop the attacks. Sapsuckers are a breed of woodpeckers found in North America. In the process of drilling, sapsuckers eat the inner bark, drink the sap, and catch insects such as ants that are attracted to the sap. The yellow-bellied sapsucker is a small (20-23 cm) migratory member of the woodpecker family that is present throughout the summer. Yellow-bellied sapsuckers are woodpeckers that drill small, often evenly and closely spaced holes in trees in order to extract the sweet sap. Sometimes insects will get caught in the sap, and the birds will eat them, obtaining valuable protein. People want to know if the small holes are caused by insects, bored kids or what; and more than that, they want to know if it’s going to kill their tree. Distribution in Missouri: Statewide. Yellow-bellied sapsuckers are omnivorous and eat a wide range of foods, including sap, insects, fruit, berries, nuts, buds, and seeds. If a lot of sapsuckers attack a tree they could drill so many holes that the tree dies. Below is a blog originally posted in November 2016. 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