If you see holes in a tree in a straight line, it’s woodpeckers. And believe it or not, it doesn’t usually hurt the tree.
Around here it is probably a Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker. They are small woodpeckers that make rows of small holes in straight lines.
This is one of the trees in the field where Meadow Brook comes out near the little wetland where I walk Geordie, our dog. I was surprised to see these holes because I thought woodpeckers only ate bugs and I didn’t see any sign of bugs.
I’ve seen woodpeckers peck on metal poles. I thought it was a brain-damaged wood pecker until I saw that the pecking was making bugs come out that the woodpecker was feasting on.
Woodpeckers eat wood boring insects and sometimes it means the tree is infested with pests. But, Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker also eat sap. They peck on perfectly healthy trees, which then leak sap which they eat. The sap also attracts insects. For dessert.
It is rare for them to drill enough holes to damage the tree. Some trees become favorites. Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers prefer trees with softer bark or high sugar content in the sap.
I learned something new on Nature News this morning. Hummingbirds will follow Sapsuckers to drink the sap from the holes they make.