Birdseye Maple

Botanical Name

Acer saccharum

Other Common Names

Sugar Maple, Hard Maple, Rock Maple, Hard Rock Maple


Eastern USA and Canada


Birdseye maple, one of the rarest kinds of wood on the planet, has a distinctive pattern that looks like tiny, swirling eyes disrupting the smooth lines of grain. Birds-eye maple is a form of figured hard maple, it is not a variety or species of maple. What actually causes the phenomenon is still unknown. Hypotheses include bird pecking, climate change, genetic mutation, growth history, infection and soil conditions. Birdseye figure is predominantly found in sugar maple and rarely in other species. Birdseye figure is found in less than 1% of the veneer harvest, but may account for 1/2 the value of sale.


Birdseye maple has a medium density and variable color. The outer rings of the tree create lumber that's usually a creamy, light amber color with darker birdseye patterns. The inner rings, called heartwood, might be deep amber or reddish with dark brown birdseye. Wood with bird's eye figure is no different from the rest of the wood from the same tree. Depending on the frequency of the birdseye swirls, each 1/8 inch to 3/8 inch wide (0.3 – 1 cm), the wood may be extremely valuable.

Working Properties

Birdseye and other figured maples never like to be planed and always work better with sanders rather than planers. Always move with caution with these woods. All Maples glue relatively well.


Birdseye Maple is a common component in private jets, automobiles, musical instruments, architectural panels, entertainment centers, cabinets, furniture, jewelry boxes, pool cues, flooring, and fixtures