A sapsucker takes a ride

  • An adult male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker perched on the shoulder of Bill Calkins. Courtesy of Jake Calkins

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Bill Calkins of Gilmanton was recently out riding ATVs with friends on trails in New Hampton. While taking a break, Calkins noticed four or five birds in a tree next to him, and then, looking down into a brush pile, saw one of the same kind on the ground. Calkins walked over to the bird and put his hand down next to it. The bird, an adult male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker ran up Calkin’s bare arm and perched on his shoulder.

“I was thinking it was going to pierce my arm, but it didn’t leave a mark as it ran up” Calkins recalled.

The bird stayed with him during the break and during the drive to where the trailers were parked. After parking his ATV on the trailer, Calkins walked over to a snag and put his hand on it. The Sapsucker walked up his arm, and onto the snag.

Though he doesn’t know much about birds, Calkins said the woodpecker appeared to be fine. It was agile upon his shoulder, and seemed to enjoy the ride.