Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. To some, the name 'yellow-bellied sapsucker' may conjure up a childhood taunt by a neighborhood bully or perhaps some mythical creature, but the yellow-bellied sapsucker is a real bird, one of our woodpeckers and a very specialized one at that. Yellow-bellied sap suckers are about eight inches-long and easily distinguished from our other woodpeckers by the presence of a white stripe that extends from the shoulder of each wing. The yellow-bellied sapsucker is mostly black and white, but it does have a yellow wash on its belly. Both sexes have a red cap, but males have a red throat, while females have a white throat. The yellow-bellied sapsucker is unusual among woodpeckers in that it's a migrant; most of our woodpeckers are with us year-around. This sapsucker nests in eastern North America, across southern Canada, into our northern states, and south into the Appalachians. It's a common wintering bird throughout Florida and well into the Caribbean, and its presence is readily noted by the rows of tiny holes it makes in trees in search of sweet sap.'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.