This Bird Sucks


This week’s photo, taken January 6, 2013 in Lincoln Park in Seattle, WA, features a RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER. Hair-like extensions on the tip of its tongue allow it to gather the sap that oozes out of the shallow holes drilled in the tree’s trunk. So, actually, this bird does not suck. A more accurate name might be “sapsipper.”

On Sunday, Laura and I drive to West Seattle, where we visit Lincoln Park, a majestic spot with towering trees that make you feel like you are far from a city. The park also includes walking paths below the bluffs that stretch along the rocky shore of the Puget Sound. Beyond the driftwood-filled beach, 3 HARLEQUIN DUCKS bob up and down in the choppy water. One of them wrestles a small fish into submission, before sliding it down its slippery throat. Also floating on the water surface are a few HORNED GREBES, 2 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS and 2 COMMON GOLDENEYES.

When we hear chip notes behind us, we turn and face the forest, where a PACIFIC WREN plays hide and seek for a few minutes in a large pile of leaves. A friendly couple approaches and asks what we are looking at. After we show them the wren, the woman mentions that up the trail in the wooded area of the park, just outside the men’s restroom, they saw a woodpecker on the trunk of a large conifer, but they have no idea which woodpecker it is. So, Laura and I head up the trail, and when we arrive at the restroom, a RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER (which is a woodpecker), is clinging to the trunk of the tree the couple referred to earlier. It’s nice when the non-birders of the world help us birders find more birds.


About Joe Sweeney

I photograph birds to share the beauty and wonder I find in nature.
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