Friday, December 14, 2012

Really smart woodpeckers

Last week I was driving on Las Pilitas Road outside of Santa Margarita, CA and I came across a holey oak (in my mind all oaks are Holy, but only some are holey):

(Click to enlarge)
Of course I had to get out of the truck and take a closer look:
(Click to enlarge)
An acorn is stuffed into many of these holes.  This is the work of acorn woodpeckers - a bird that is native to California and the southwest, not the Midwest where I come from.  These industrious little dudes create "granary trees" by drilling holes in the bark of oak trees and cramming - and I do mean cramming - acorns into them.  The acorns are pounded in so tightly that squirrels and jays can't dislodge them.  As the acorns dry out, shrink, and become loose in their nooks, the clever acorn woodpeckers cram them into smaller holes.

At least someone understands the value of acorns as a food source.

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