Posted by: atowhee | June 22, 2015

ACORNY BEHAVIOR

“The [Acorn] Woodpecker is our native aristocrat. He is unruffled by the operations of the human plebs in whatever disguise. Digger Indians, Don Joses, or Doctors of Philosophy are all the same to him. Wigwams, haciendas, or university halls, what matter such frivolities, if only one may go calmly on with the main business of life, which is indubitably the hoarding of acorns.”

–William Leon Dawson, 1923

Yesterday at Emigrant Lake near Ashland I encountered a small granery used by Acorn Woodpeckers.  It is a section of dead wood in an otherwise healthy white oak.  The wood is a small section where a limb was once torn off by storm or other accident.  In this area the woodpeckers had stored more than one acorn in some of the holes, one hole contained three.  Using our fingers, another birder and I tried to pry the acorns out of their slots but failed.  We would have needed a knife blade or screwdriver to succeed.grnry1 grnry2 grnry3The Birds of North America Online account of this species makes no mention of multiple acorns in a single slot.  It does say that a colony of ACWO would need more than a century to make the 50,000 holes reported in some colonies.  A single hole is rarely made in a single work session, and in hard oak it make take numerous drill team applications.  In the upper image you can see some new holes that been initiated.

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