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Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers
Preparing the way for hummingbirds

Hummingbird lovers feel the excitement as the migration season approaches. Flowers may still be weeks from blooming and there's no nectar in sight. How do the earliest hummingbirds get the energy they need? Some hummers get by with a little help from their friends!

Early spring hummingbird arrivals feed on sweet tree sap oozing from rows of small holes drilled into trees by yellow-bellied sapsuckers.

Some people think the northern limit of ruby-throats is determined by the range of sapsuckers. How are the breeding range patterns of these species similar?

male sapsucker
ruby distribution female sapsucker ruby distribution
Ruby-throat Breeding Range (red) Female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Breeding Range (red)