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Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn Woodpecker
Photo Information
Copyright: Manyee Desandies (manyee) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2014-07-24
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon Powershot SX230IS
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2014-09-26 11:36
Viewed: 1967
Points: 8
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Acorn Woodpecker
Melanerpes formicivorus

Reminiscent of a troupe of wide-eyed clowns, Acorn Woodpeckers live in large groups in western oak woodlands. Their social lives are endlessly fascinating: they store thousands of acorns each year by jamming them into specially made holes in trees. A group member is always on alert to guard the hoard from thieves, while others race through the trees giving parrotlike waka-waka calls. Their breeding behavior is equally complicated, with multiple males and females combining efforts to raise young in a single nest.

Cool Facts

The Acorn Woodpecker has a very complicated social system. Family groups hold territories, and young woodpeckers stay with their parents for several years and help the parents raise more young. Several different individuals of each sex may breed within one family, with up to seven breeding males and three breeding females in one group.

All members of an Acorn Woodpecker group spend large amounts of time storing acorns. Acorns typically are stored in holes drilled into a single tree, called a granary tree. One granary tree may have up to 50,000 holes in it, each of which is filled with an acorn in autumn.

The Acorn Woodpecker will use human-made structures to store acorns, drilling holes in fenceposts, utility poles, buildings, and even automobile radiators. Occasionally the woodpecker will put acorns into places where it cannot get them out. Woodpeckers put 220 kg (485 lb) of acorns into a wooden water tank in Arizona. In parts of its range the Acorn Woodpecker does not construct a granary tree, but instead stores acorns in natural holes and cracks in bark. If the stores are eaten, the woodpecker will move to another area, even going from Arizona to Mexico to spend the winter.

In groups with more than one breeding female, the females put their eggs into a single nest cavity. A female usually destroys any eggs in the nest before she starts to lay, and more than one third of all eggs laid in joint nests are destroyed. Once all the females start to lay, they stop removing eggs.

The oldest Acorn Woodpecker on record was at least 17 years, 3 months old. This live bird was identified in 2009 by its colored leg band, which it had been wearing since 1992.


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Critiques [Translate]

How lovely, indeed!!!
Love your notes.
Great eye contact.
Well balanced delightful colours.
Mario from Canada wishing you a great weekend.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2014-09-26 12:16]

Hello Manyee,
Great to see you back!
Very nice photo of this Acorn Woodpecker. Attractive pose, good sharpness and natural colours. The centered position of the bird works well in this photo.
Have a good weekend,

hello neighbour, nice framing, TFS Ori

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2014-09-26 14:43]

Hello Manyee,
I have read and heard about these neat little woodpeckers that jam their acorns into holes, but I have never seen one in the wild. You have done a wonderful job of photographing this particular bird. I love it's facial markings, especially the black half mask and it's white chin and forehead. It has such a beautiful eye and the red cap tops everything off nicely. Great shot!!

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