[Mnbird] Yellow bellied sapsucker

james griffin grapegriff at gmail.com
Mon Apr 10 13:31:24 CDT 2017

Over the weekend I had my FOY sapsuckers.  I was struck by one particular
male.  The red and black on the head, nape and throat popped.  I was
actually within 6 feet of this bird as I was refilling my feeders.  I just
paused and wondered at the vibrant fresh plumage.  The bird tracked up a
small cedar with it's back to me and again the plumage was stunning and
blacker than I remember.  A wonderful springtime experience.

Now for the reason for my post.  I have spent a fair amount of time birding
the west coast over the last 30 years.  I am relatively new to Mn and this
bird just seemed so much darker than the YBSS's I encountered on eastern
Long Island, where I spent my entire working life.  So, I think,  yellow
bellieds and red-naped hybridize.  First, how common is this hybridization
and second, do the hybrids occur this far east. I believe it is virtually
impossible to separate these species visually or by song(as with the

I am not saying I say a hybrid.  In all likelihood it was just a
particularly dark fresh plumaged yellow bellied.  Just wondering.  Thanks
for any input.
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