While hiking to Indian River Falls and back yesterday, I learned what a red breasted sapsucker nest sounds like. On the way up, I had heard what I thought might be young birds begging for food, but I could not seem to locate where the sound was coming from and after a couple of minutes trying, I continued on my way. On my way back from the falls, I heard the sound again and as I paused to look for it, I thought I saw a sapsucker flying to a large dead tree where the sound seemed to be coming from. At this point the sound became more strident for a moment. As I watched the tree, I saw a sapsucker land in a high branch, but I had not seen where it flew from. After a short pause, the bird flew off into the woods. I decided to lay down to wait and see if the bird came back to see if my hypothesis about there being a nest nearby was likely to be correct. I laid down along the trail where I had a good view of the tree to listen and wait.
While listening, I began to feel a little bit sorry for the sapsucker parents. Being a parent with young children, I know how frustrating it can be when children will not stop crying. These young birds sounded like a wheel in desperate need of grease constantly spinning. There was never a pause in their loud squeaking. After a few minutes, I saw an adult bird return and disappear into a barely visible hole high up on the trunk. The same change in sound occurred as the young birds presumably got excited when food arrived. It only took a few seconds and the adult was off again.
While hiking back, I listened for the calls of the young sapsuckers and heard them at least four or five different times along the trail. It seems that there are quite a few nests in the area.