After we discovered the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) on the Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) tree by the woods, we started to stake out the tree. Chickadees and Tufted Titmice visited the tree frequently; that wasn’t strange since they’re here year round. Then we noticed some little birds that stayed mainly around the base of the tree although, occasionally, one would venture higher up the trunk. They seemed un-phased by our presence when they were low on the trunk and would hop around fearlessly, frequently sitting with their back to us. When higher up the trunk, they seemed quite shy and would sit facing us.
I managed to capture this shot of one higher on the trunk but it wouldn’t come around to the front of the trunk where I could see its back.
A close up.
W managed to get a few shot of one of them near the base of the trunk.
Clearly, it was feeding on sap dribbling down the tree trunk. The yellow patch on its head is visible as is the patch under the wing.
A front view, again showing the yellow patch on its head.
We identified them as Yellow-rumped Warblers (Dendroica coronata). They winter in this area but will fly north to breed. The sap has dried up on the Sugar Maple now. If they’re still in the area, they’re foraging elsewhere now. Next year, we are going to have to keep a closer watch on the maple in the Fall and Winter and, hopefully, we’ll see the yellow patch on the rump.
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The Cornell Institute of Ornithology: Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata)