Looked out the front window
and what did I see?
A sapsucker, sapsucker
on the old apple tree.
The apple tree has been in front of the house since it was planted 50 years ago when it’s trunk was little more than an inch in diameter (so it's not really very old, but that sounds better than "middle-aged apple tree"). A couple of years later it bloomed for the first time and it has done so every year since.
A wide variety of bees and flies visit the flowers for their abundant pollen and in doing so pollinate the flowers.
Migrating warblers and vireos stop in the apple tree to feast on insects before flying on north –
Months later, before the apples are mature enough for us to pick, gray squirrels scramble through the branches to eat some of the apples.
We don’t spray the tree against the insects that feed on its leaves or developing apples. But we have picked the apples when they ripen in September, some for eating but most to make into apple sauce. The apple tree hasn’t just fed the bees, or the squirrels, or the birds that come to eat the insects that feed on its leaves, or us – it has also fed the yellow-bellied sapsuckers that have made rows of holes on its trunk.
And so it was on a day in mid-November when I looked out the window and saw a female yellow-bellied sapsucker on the apple tree. She was busy making new holes in the bark to obtain a fresh flow of sap. So busy was she that I could go outside and approach to within 25 feet while taking a number of photos –
And still she worked steadily, so I switched to taking videos of her hard at work –
It was quite cool outside and, expecting her to fly off, I hadn’t put on a coat so after a few minutes I left her hard at work and went back in the warm house.