|Title||The activities and coactions of animals at sapsucker trees|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||1966|
|Authors||Foster WL, Jr. JLTate|
From 1963 through 1965 we studied the summer feeding areas of six pairs of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (Sphyrapicus varius) in northern Lower Michigan. The sapsuckers fed on phloem sap obtained in different ways and from different types of trees, varying with the season. Animal visitors--insects, birds, and mammals--were consistently associated with sapsucker feeding trees, attracted to the flowing sap and/or insect life at the trees. Butterflies, moths, flies, hornets, and bees were the most numerous insect groups. Birds totaling 20 species appeared at the feeding trees. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird was the most numerous of all birds, including the sapsucker itself. Segregation of the sexes of hummingbirds to specific feeding areas was observed. A female hummingbird built a nest within fifty feet of a feeding tree, and its activities centered about both the tree and nest. Bats, northern flying squirrels, and red squirrels were always associated with sapsucker trees. In studying the round-the-clock activites and interrelationships of all the animals visiting the sapsucker trees, we found that a prominent social hierarchy developed among the more frequent visitors and that the summer feeding trees of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers have a signficant effect on the local ecosystem.