Sapsucker that is....
Some 10 years ago or so I grew a Mountain Ash from seed and it is now some18 or 20 foot high and about 2” in diameter at the base and is a feature of our back yard. We were upset to see a row of holes around the trunk recently just pouring sap down the trunk, yep, a Yellow Bellied Sapsucker has decided that this is his favorite feeding station! Now I don’t generally get excited about the birds doing their thing in our trees, the woodpeckers generally will not do much damage unless the tree is already badly infested with insects or grubs and even the Sapsucker generally leaves enough bark between his holes that the tree survives, we have 100 year old apple and pear trees with evidence of the little buggers having drilled his horizontal rows many many years ago in them and it obviously did those trees no lasting harm.
This Mountain Ash is however quite special to us, quite small yet and we do not want to loose it after having grown it from seed and it just in the last year or so started bearing those decorative orange fruit in the fall. We first tried hanging old CDs from the branches, as we stood there no 10ft back admiring the twinkling light issuing from the almost dozen CDs spinning in the sunlight we hear 'meeew meeew' and the persistent little fellow flew in for a drink of sap. So next protective move was to wrap the trunk in the area of attack with burlap sacking ..... meeew meeew “well I will just move higher on the tree”.
Now having wrapped the tree to a height of over 10' we hear him laughing at us on a daily basis as he not only finds unwrapped areas to feed upon but also pulls the sacking aside to get at the main trunk! We can but hope that nature makes allowances for such things and our Mountain Ash continues to enhance our yard for years to come.... after all it makes no sense for a bird to kill the very thing that feeds it, I just wish he would choose one of our larger apple or pears trees, or even any of the hundreds of pine, spruce or maple trees available to him as his favorite feeding station.
It seems that I am the sucker for thinking that I can dictate which trees he can or cannot use!