Baby woodpeckers demand food from their hard-working dad
The yellow bellied sapsucker is a small woodpecker that can be found Canada and the north eastern United States of America. It is one of the more commonly seen species throughout its range. It feeds on tree sap and insects that can be found within dying or decaying trees, as well as fruits and berries.
This footage shows the male feeding the chicks, a duty that is shared equally by both parents. The chicks squawk loudly in the nest, imploring their mother or father to catch more food for them. The hungriest chick is the most vocal at the nest opening, while the others remain quite until the parents arrive with a meal. The hungriest chick always gets the next piece of food as it will be the most vocal and active at the nest opening.
The parents catch insects, coat them in tree sap and then bring them to the nest, alternating until all chicks are fed. This task will continue steadily throughout the day for 25-29 days until the young leave the nest. They will rely on their parents for another two weeks as they become independent.
This hole has been hollowed out by the father as he courted the female several weeks earlier. The yellow bellied sapsucker prefers poplar trees and it is particular about the height of the nest and the diameter of the tree chosen. Holes for feeding are often drilled in neat rows to allow the sap to flow freely and to collect in lower holes, making feeding on tree sap more efficient.
Often, yellow bellied sapsuckers can be heard from a great distance as they seek a hollow tree that will produce a loud sound when pecked. This is usually a form of communication and a means of staking out territory by the male.