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West Bend, WI 53095

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Quad 30 Bird of the Day

Monday, June 14th
Blackduck, Minnesota


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

I enjoy BBS routes that go through sapsucker country. It gives me a chance to play with their minds on occasion. I've used an old, legal-size, wooden, Globe clipboard (patent date of Jan.31.93) since I started doing BBS routes more than 30 years ago. I picked it up in a box of "miscellaneous" at an auction in Ithaca, NY. I like the extra length, and the metal clip is formed just right to attach my timer. It also makes a loud sound when I whack it with my pencil.

Sapsuckers have a unique drumming pattern that is fun to imitate. When they hear it, some seem to try and outdo it, while others will fly in closer to see what sapsucker has intruded into their territory. Today, I had a couple of sapsuckers that had wonderfully sounding drumming sites - very loud and distinctive. One could be heard over a half mile away. On one of my Marinette Co. routes in WI, one often perches on the wooden post of a metal road sign and really raps the sign. One individual today called close to my stop, and when I "drummed" on the clipboard, it immediately flew in quite close - agitated with its head feathers raised.

Here in MN, BBS data indicate the sapsucker population to be stable, while in WI it is increasing at a 1.7% rate annually since 1966. Across the US, it is increasing at an even greater annual rate - 3.1%.

At times, one just needs a little distraction while concentrating mightily for almost 5 hours.

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