46-B-2018-b Red-breasted Sapsucker

STATUS
Pending
HOW MANY OBSERVED?
1
DATE SIGHTING OCCURRED
DATE REPORT PREPARED
REPORTER
Sarah Harris
OTHER OBSERVERS
Lauren Brockway, Melody Asher
Lauren Brockway first observed the bird creating sap wells in an ornamental fruit tree in her back yard.
LOCALITY OF OBSERVATION
4077 Sage Springs Cir, Kimberly US-ID
HABITAT WHERE THE BIRD WAS OBSERVED
Bird was observed initially on an ornamental fruit tree in yard that is surrounded by sagebrush, Russian Olive, and others, native and non-native. Property is bordered to the north by a row of old poplars that are losing bark and branches.
SIGHTING DURATION, CONDITIONS, and EQUIPMENT USED
I observed newly created sap-wells and watched the RBSA swoop/fly and cling to the trunks of two different poplars for approximately 10 minutes. It was a clear sunny day with little wind - excellent viewing conditions. I used borrowed Nikon 10X50 binoculars.
DID YOU TAKE NOTES?
Yes, during the observation
DID YOU CONSULT A FIELD GUIDE OR OTHER REFERENCE WORK?
Yes, during the observation
Yes, later the same day
WHICH GUIDE(S) OR REFERENCE(S): DID YOU CONSULT?
iBird Pro phone app, recently updated
Sibley phone app, recently updated
DESCRIPTION OF THE BIRD(s)
Sapsucker with bright red head, nape, chin, upper breast. Dark back with two “ladders” on either side of center. Red upper breast grades into dull yellow belly with brownish streaks. White rump in flight and with long white wing patches. First observed sap-sucking on ornamental plum. Observed later with flickers in a row of Poplars.
BEHAVIOR OF THE BIRD(s)
I first observed the bird as it flap-glided from Lauren's yard toward the poplars that border the north edge of her property. It took us several minutes to relocate the bird. We found it clinging to the side of a poplar and were able to watch it from about 25 yards in two different trees for over 10 minutes.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE BIRD, AND WHAT CLINCHED THE IDENTIFICATION FOR YOU?
Lauren, who first saw the bird had already identified it. After observing the bird, I confirmed its identification with the apps on my phone. The bright red head with stout black bill and white moustache, and bright red chin and upper breast were characteristics that confirmed its identity for me.
HOW DID YOU ELIMINATE SIMILAR SPECIES? WHAT WERE THEY?
The RBSA was observed with several Northern Flickers, which were significantly larger. The RBSA appeared to be about the same size as a Red-naped Sapsucker, which I am very familiar with and had similar markings in flight - big white rump and white patches on the wings. However, this bird's identifying characteristics were distinctively different - solid red head, chin, nape, and upper breast.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS (AND SIMILAR) SPECIES?
This was a life bird for me. I have not seen another, except in a field guide. The other bird in our area that it could be confused with is the RNSA, which I am very familiar with. A Red-headed Woodpecker might be a candidate, except the breast of our bird was not white. The chin and upper breast were bright red transitioning to a dull yellow belly.
DESCRIBE YOUR GENERAL BIRDING EXPERIENCE
I have been birding for 40 years, seriously for the past 15. I am most familiar with the birds in South Central Idaho, primarily in Twin Falls, Cassia and Gooding Counties. On home ground, I am a very good birder.
WERE PHOTO(S), VIDEO, AND/OR AUDIO OBTAINED FROM THIS SIGHTING?
Photo