Return to Wildlife


Yellow-bellied sapsucker injury is apparent as one or more rows of horizontal or vertical holes penetrating trunk bark. Injury usually occurs in spring on older trees when birds feed on inner tree bark and sap. Sapsuckers often revisit trees to feed on sap that collects in the holes they created.

Yellow-bellied sapsucker damage to trunk (Strang, UKY)
Yellow-bellied sapsucker damage to trunk.

(Photo: John Strang, University of Kentucky)



  • Yellow-bellied sapsuckers are protected by federal law so they may not be killed
  • Noise or visual frightening devices (may be of limted success)
  • Wrapping trunks with screening (may be of limted success)


Return to Wildlife