46-B-2018 Red-breasted Sapsucker

STATUS
Accepted
DATE VOTING COMPLETED
1ST ROUND
7-0
HOW MANY OBSERVED?
1; adult
DATE SIGHTING OCCURRED
DATE REPORT PREPARED
REPORTER
Lauren Brockway
OTHER OBSERVERS
Sarah Harris, Melody Asher. First found by me, Lauren.
LOCALITY OF OBSERVATION
3409 E 4070 N Kimberly, ID. My house.
HABITAT WHERE THE BIRD WAS OBSERVED
My yard, so grass with mixed trees. First seen on my plum tree and then seemed to enjoy the large poplars along the back of my neighborhood. Lots of sagebrush and dry grasses.
SIGHTING DURATION, CONDITIONS, and EQUIPMENT USED
Was seen for about 2 hours in the morning, and then was spotted again by me, Sarah, and Melody at 1:00 or so.
DID YOU TAKE NOTES?
Yes, during the observation
DID YOU CONSULT A FIELD GUIDE OR OTHER REFERENCE WORK?
Yes, during the observation
WHICH GUIDE(S) OR REFERENCE(S): DID YOU CONSULT?
Sibley's guide to Western Birds and Melody's Sibley app.
DESCRIPTION OF THE BIRD(s)
Sapsucker(medium sized woodpecker with bill longer than a Downy or Hairy and shorter and skinnier than Flicker) with red head, grayish belly, black back and tail, with two grayish brown ladders down the back. White moustache/malar stripe extending and fading away into the neck. Reddish head extends and gradients down into the belly. Black around the eye.
BEHAVIOR OF THE BIRD(s)
Sapsucking off of my tree. Would drill several holes, sit in the tree, then return and drink the sap. Was later seen foraging in the poplars.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE BIRD, AND WHAT CLINCHED THE IDENTIFICATION FOR YOU?
I first saw it at about 10:00. I grabbed my camera and had the first thought of "hybrid Red-breasted x Red-naped". After looking at it for a long time, it did not have any hint of Red-naped facial markings, and the red of the head did not have a clean break before the belly as in a hybrid.
HOW DID YOU ELIMINATE SIMILAR SPECIES? WHAT WERE THEY?
As above, I eliminated Red-naped x Red-breasted due to the facial pattern and breast/belly pattern.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS (AND SIMILAR) SPECIES?
I had no experience with Red-breasted Sapsucker. I did however have experience with Red-naped, and I did know that almost every Red-breasted like Sapsucker in Idaho has been a hybrid so I was inclined towards that identification.
DESCRIBE YOUR GENERAL BIRDING EXPERIENCE
I have been birding for several years, more seriously within the past 2 or 3 years. I recently joined Twin Falls' Prairie Falcon Audubon Group and I have gained a lot of experience birding with them. Every since I had a field guide I've gone through it so many times learning the different birds for a lot longer than 3 years. If I had to rate my level of expertise I would say medium? I'm pretty good at identifying quickly and on the fly and my ability to recognize behavior is pretty good.
WERE PHOTO(S), VIDEO, AND/OR AUDIO OBTAINED FROM THIS SIGHTING?
Photo
SUPPORTING IMAGES

FIRST ROUND VOTING:

Cliff Weisse
Accept

Description and photos support identification of Red-breasted Sapsucker.

Shirley Sturts
Accept

Good description and photos

Dave Trochlell
Accept

I'm convinced that this was a RBSA.

Darren Clark
Accept

This appears to be a pure Red-breasted Sapsucker

Carl Lundblad
Accept

I'm expecting this one to be more controversial, but the photos of the breast look pretty clean red, and I'm not seeing signs of hybridization.

Jay Carlisle
Accept

Great set of photos showing good side views of head & chest - looks good for a "daggetti" (southern) subspecies

Doug Ward
Accept

While the report is light, the observer is aware of the likelihood of hybrids and does address the possibility, though again, light on specifics. In reviewing the decent photos, I note the absence of any black showing through in the red breast, lack of any “shadow pattering” in the face (also mentioned by the observer), limited white on the back (appears to be more of a yellowish tinge), and apparently fully red nape (tough to tell in the photos) support identification as a “pure” Red-breasted Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber). However, these are tough calls and am open to reading other opinions if we head to a second round.