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The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group. Here is where we keep track of what's happening, nature wise, in our neighborhoods. The conversation here might be about anything from alligators to elephants, although I don't think any of us have, or want, any elephants in our backyard. But nothing in nature is off limits and nothing is too big or too small so please let us know what is going on around you in a comment. Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located.
Yellow bellied sapsuckers don't live here in Missouri but they do travel through the state on their annual migration every spring and fall.
Though I very rarely see them, they usually stop by and spend a little time in our yard in the midst of their trek. It's not hard to tell that they've been here. Their unique feeding habit of drilling a series of small holes in order to lap up the sap that runs from those holes is unmistakable and we have several trees in the yard that bear them.

I'd been seeing some fresh holes in some of our trees this past week so I knew we had one around and I've been keeping an eye peeled for it and sure enough yesterday afternoon I spotted one merrily turning one of our pecan trees into a peg board. The pecans seem to be the favorite of yellow bellies here in our yard. Several other trees have the telltale hole patterns on them as well but none have been hit as hard as the pecans. One tree in particular is getting some pretty extensive damage and I'd much prefer they picked a different one since we only have but two pecan trees. But they never ask me what I'd prefer and I guess I should just be happy that they're only temporary residents here. I'm not sure how much sap (and bark) our pecan trees can afford to give up before it's too much. He's a very interesting bird and pretty dang cool looking too boot, but I probably won't shed any tears when he leaves us.

Besides the yellow belly we also had a redbreasted nuthatch stop by the feeders yesterday for awhile. We had our first one ever at the feeders this winter and it was a regular visitor for about a month or so and then around the end of the year it just up and disappeared. I figured it had headed back north but now I'm thinking it just went a little further south after ol man Winter decided to get serious for awhile. And if that's the case then it's probably just now heading home and stopped by here to refuel before going further. It may be a different bird altogether of course but  that seems like too much of a coincidence. Our first ever one this winter, all by itself, and now the same thing, one lone redbreasted. I think it's the same bird, but no way to say for sure.

But anyway, two new yard birds to add to my 2013 list so that's good, even if I'm not happy that our pecan trees are leaking again.

So, we've got sapsuckers and nuthatches, and still waiting for our martins and a whole flock of other species that haven't made it back here yet this spring, what's new in your neighborhood? Want a sapsucker?

I'll be here on and off today, probably more off than on, but you know what to do.

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