Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Sucker for Conspiracies

Sapsucker wells?

On a short run through Tanager Park in Costa Mesa last weekend, I noticed these odd markings on a couple of the trees, and wondered if they might be sapsucker wells. They look quite a bit like the photos of sapsucker wells I pulled up on Google Images, and I can't think of anything else that could have made them (apart from a Homo sapiens with an ice pick and an obsessive-compulsive disorder).

I have no idea how long those holes have been there.

I've seen Northern Flickers and Downy Woodpeckers in the park, but no Sapsuckers. Still, the possibilities are intriguing.


Sparverius said...

They could also be shot bore beetle (not sure of the real name) holes. We get those a lot at my park. Some trees look like they've been riddled with machine gun fire.

Parus said...

They could be beetles. however, they look too much like sapsucker wells. too much like the wells I see here in WI and we don't have bore beetles here. I would say Red-breasted Sapsucker.

Neil Gilbert said...

Hi Felicia, they do look like sapsucker wells, but rather old ones, surely not from this year. Old sapsucker wells begin to turn darker blackish, with less neat edges. As they get even older, the lines start bleeding together so they look like grooves in the bark.

Felicia said...

Thanks to all of you for your comments! A few other people who contacted me through the OC Birding forum also thought they looked like sapsucker wells (but concur with Neil that they're probably no longer in use.) I'm not sure if we have shot bore beetles out here, but I'll keep an eye out for them, too.

My next step is to find an actual Sapsucker!