The question: Is this bird a pure Red-naped Sapsucker or a hybrid?
The answer: Jury is still out. Members of the Missouri Bird Records Committee are checking in with other experts on the species.
Why should this be a complex question? Truth be told, three species of sapsuckers were all thought to be the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker until l983 when their DNA was found to be distinctly different and they were separated out. To add to the confusion, the Red-naped will hybridize with the Yellow-bellied and the Red-breasted Sapsuckers where they come into contact with each other. Birds never cease to be interesting! So, we await a final decision.
Not a single sapsucker has been seen since 2-21-21 when that bird came in! There has been a lot of movement with birds heading north now. Have you noticed the Snow Geese flying over in huge flocks?
Nest material was found in the Eastern Bluebird nest box, but it didn't look quite right for a bluebird nest. I watched on different days to see which birds might return.
Definitely not Eastern Bluebirds! For now, we have removed the box. It may sound mean to some, but we don't allow introduced species like these Eurasian Tree Sparrows to nest here. We reserve the right to help our native birds where we can. These sparrows are just as determined as the notorious House Sparrows to take over any nest box.
A pair of Northern Flickers have been seen hammering on an oak snag adjacent to our woodland. We'll see if they complete the nest hole.
The pair of Red-shouldered Hawks have been in the yard frequently. They watch from a perch for movement in the leaves and usually come up with a vole to carry off for a meal.
The Carolina Chickadee with the deformed left leg has come through the winter and appears to be paired up with another bird. This little one is a perfect example of why perches are important at water features. The bird holds on, dips into the water and splashes about to bathe. It would be impossible to keep its balance on one good leg without that perch!
As birds move through during migration, we do see signs that others have had a difficult time this winter. This American Robin had feathers torn from its back, possibly due to a narrow escape from a cat or hawk. Perhaps the bird was weak due to lack of food. I'm just glad that the bird has found sanctuary here to recover before moving on.
A pair of Pine Siskins are still around. They seem to be feeding mainly in the trees now, but about lunchtime will stop at the feeders and fountain.
We have had fun watching a pair of Brown Creepers as they chase each other through the woods and around trees. This one was intent on scooping up tiny insects on the bark of a white oak.
Bright and warm days call the birds in to get all gussied up for Spring! We have gained over 2 hours of daylight since the Winter Solstice. Don't forget to turn your clocks ahead this weekend!
SPRING FORWARD ON SATURDAY, MARCH 13, 2021!