Sunday, January 23, 2005

Why you Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

I’m almost positive I have heard that, or a similar epithet, in an old western movie, but alas, searches of both Google and the Internet Movie Database came up empty. In any event, I’d have to say if that epithet had been uttered in some movie dialogue, it was very unfair to the Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker. Blue Jays are “showy, noisy” (says Peterson's Field Guide) and the most aggressive birds that come to the feeder. Some of the smaller birds are also aggressive, but they are not very big and the other birds don’t pay them much attention. Blue Jays are like the school bully: large and intimidating, full of bluff and bluster. A Blue Jay arrives and the rest get out of its way – it doesn’t play well with others. Except today I watched a Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, a bird that gives the impression of being a rather mild, easy-going sort of fellow -- and certainly not aggressive -- stand its ground when a Blue Jay approached the suet cake it was eating. Not only did it not give way to the larger bird, it jabbed at the Blue Jay, sort of lunged at it. The Blue Jay immediately gave up and flew off. There must be a life lesson from this, just not sure what it is.

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