This lovely female yellow-bellied sapsucker has been visiting the peanut feeder irregularly during the past two weeks. Yesterday I caught a couple of images of her, shooting through the studio windows.
Back in 1992 when we first moved to this old farm, my birding mentor, Pat Murphy, gave us a homemade peanut feeder as a wedding gift. Her husband Bob had made it. It was mesh hardware cloth in a cylinder with the cut-off ends of a croquet mallet as the top and bottom. Peanut feeders like the one shown here were not commercially available in the U.S. at the time. However over in Europe, especially in the U.K. peanut feeding has been the central feature in any garden 'bird table', as they call them.
We got our first sapsucker that winter visiting Pat's feeder. What a thrill that was. Sapsuckers at our feeders have been few and far between since then. They are fascinating birds and I love the swoopy way they fly. In fact you can often identify a sapsucker just by the way it swoops into land in a tree. Of course the long white wing strip is pretty obvious, too.
We'll keep the peanuts out and hope the sapsucker feels like sticking around the farm until spring calls her back northward.