I witnessed a strange incident this evening while clearing brush piles on my
property.  Aloud shrieking/hissing call caught my attention.  Since I had heard
a Barred Owl calling nearby a few minutes before, the first thing I thought of
was some of the non-standard calls that a barred owl can make.  Then three
Yellow-bellied sapsuckers came barreling through a large apple tree nearby, and
flew to a pine tree about 15 feet from me.  The three birds, one male and two
females, landed on the trunk of the pine (about 8 inches diameter) and played a
kind of game of tag with each other, going around the trunk, first one direction
and then the other while making low chortling noises.  They eventually dispersed
to other pines.  I've never seen sapsuckers behave like that or make a noise
like that.  Very strange.

Ken Copenhaver
Fairfax VT