Hole-y Hemlocks

Eastern Hemlocks are coniferous trees with short, flat, short, soft needles, and surprisingly tiny cones. In summer, the buzzy songs of Black-throated Green Warblers drift down from above while in winter, Pine Siskins extract seeds from their cones.

The neat rows of holes in the trunks were made by Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, woodpeckers that lap sap from the wells they dig. Spring wells tap into xylem tissues carrying sugar water from the roots to the branches while summer wells tap into phloem tissues carrying liquid down to the roots. Moths, butterflies, flies, wasps, and even squirrels benefit from the sapsuckers’ efforts. When hummingbirds visit the wells, the sapsucker clumsily tries to chase them away!