We spotted these on Christmas Eve, near Duck Pond at the northern end of the Arboretum.
It was a handy coincidence that Union Bay Watch was on hand to take photos, and then to do a bit of research. According to Larry:
"It seems to me that this 2019 bird is most likely a hybrid between a Red-breasted and a Red-naped Sapsucker. However, the black mask surrounding the eye is rather puzzling. None of the four species of sapsuckers in North America have such a complete mask of black around the eyes. Three of the four have a black eye stripe running between white highlights, similar to the Red-naped Sapsucker. The Red-breasted Sapsucker is the exception. This 2019 bird appears to be a unique individual. The black mask around the eye appears to be personal variation. Maybe this is how a new species begins. If this bird's unique DNA is passed on maybe someday its progeny will form another species. They might even be called, Black-masked Sapsuckers."
How cool is that?
Happy Bird Year 2020!