Sapsucker Loves Maple Tree - Knowledgebase Question

Name: Garden Friend
Atlanta, GA
Avatar for tplaskett2
Question by tplaskett2
March 13, 1998
A beautiful woodpecker is enamored with my small maple tree and has drilled many rings of 1/4" holes around the entire trunk. The tree does not seem to be suffering, but I'm afraid that it may. Should I stop the bird, and if so, how?

Answer from NGA
March 13, 1998
Your woodpecker is called a sapsucker--this clever bird doesn't actually eat the sap--he drills holes in the bark so the sap will run out and attract the insects that make up his diet. Other creatures will also partake after he is done. Hummingbirds, bees, flies and other insects, even bats!

A few holes shouldn't hurt your tree; however, the holes can invite disease organisms. A good way to deter birds is to hang something to scare them. Scare-eye baloons, strips of mylar, even a pie panon a string will all frighten the birds, at least for a time. You can also try fake owls and snakes. You may need to change the deterrents as the bird becomes used to them.

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