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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Most of north Texas' Woodpeckers don't migrate.

Downy Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Some migrate – but most of them are here all year.  Evasive answer, I know. Of the 22 Woodpecker species north of Mexico, only 15 migrate long distances. Non-migrators include the most frequently-seen here; the Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers. The Red-bellied Woodpecker doesn’t migrate either. On the other hand, our local species of Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (a member of the Woodpecker group) spends summers up north and winters here. So it's called a "Migrator”.

How a woodpecker eats suet    If you looked closely, you’d see that a woodpecker has many tiny barbs on the end of his (or her) long, narrow tongue.  So the tongue has sort of a bottle-brush shape. The barbs catch on the suet and break off tiny pieces. The “regular” tongue brings these pieces into the woodpecker’s mouth. Although many birds peck at suet, only the woodpeckers (in north Texas, Downy WPs, Hairy WPs and Red-bellied WPs are common) are adapted like this.




OWEN YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is at in Denton.  


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