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Acorn Woodpeckers

Acorn Woodpeckers
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: 2014-10-23
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon Powershot SX230IS
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2014-10-30 9:44
Viewed: 2071
Points: 12
[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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Loved your concise yet highly educative notes.
Equally highly impressive is the eye contact of both the birds.
Wonder why these fellows have drilled soooooo many holes on the trunk of that dead tree.
The image is 10/10.
Greetings from Mario in COLD COLD Canada.

Hello Manyee,
Wonderful composition in great quality. What a pleasure to view! Well done.

Hello Manyee- I think you can't expect better composition!!! Beautiful picture with attractive composition and natural tone of this shot. Thanks for sharing this two beautiful Woodpeckers. Regards and have a nice WE- Srikumar

  • Great 
  • NikosR Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 76 W: 3 N: 447] (3436)
  • [2014-10-30 23:29]

Hello Manyee

Excellent image of Acorn Woodpeckers in a excellent composition, very good clarity, fine details and very beautiful colors. Thganks for very interesting information on their biology and habbits.



Excellent composition showing the two birds and their hoard of holes, with their environment as background. I like your note too.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2014-11-03 14:18]

Hi Manyee,a very lucky meeting wiht 2 woodpeckers so close,the composition is very nice and not easy to find,very good colors and sharpness too despite the distance.Have a nice day and thanks,Luciano

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