Woodpeckers and Sapsuckers

I have seen both woodpeckers and sapsuckers around before. I also recall noticing small holes in tree bark where the birds have gone after sap or insects. However, yesterday while I was hiking up Indian River trail was the first time I had noticed just how numerous are the signs of their presence. I was walking along the board walk where the trail skirts a muskeg and I noticed what looked like drops of white paint that had dried. I recall having seen these before, but not paying much attention. This time, however, I looked to see where the drops might have come from. It was clear that sap had dripped from holes in a hemlock tree that was overhanging the trail slightly. This tree had many holes (certainly over 100, and perhaps many hundreds) in its bark, some of which still had sap in them. (Now that I think about it, perhaps it would be possible to get some idea of the age of the holes as long as the tree is alive by considering the presence of sap and whether the bark has started to re-grow.) After taking a closer look at this tree, I saw many others along the trail. I have only seen woodpeckers and sapsuckers on a couple of occasions, so I tend to think of them as being fairly rare. The number of trees showing significant signs of these birds makes me think that they are probably more common than I had thought.

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