Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)
Acorn Woodpecker are still widespread and common. Reliance on specific oak habitats may make it vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
Habitat Oak woods, groves, mixed forest, oak-pine canyons, foothills. Seldom away from oaks. Most common where several species of oaks occur together (this insures against total failure of local acorn crop, as different oaks respond to different conditions). May be in open oak groves near coast, pine-oak woods in mountains, streamside sycamores next to oak-covered hillsides.
A clown-faced western woodpecker with a complicated social structure, living in small colonies. Best known for its habit of hoarding acorns: the birds drill small holes in a dead snag, then harvest acorns in fall and store them in these holes, to be eaten during winter. Such a “granary tree” may be used for generations and may be riddled with up to 50,000 holes. Nesting is a group activity, with several adults (up to 12 or more) taking part in incubating the eggs and feeding the young in a single nest.
Check out the Ranch House under eves, in porch posts and the ceiling of the porch for the Acorn Woodpecker’s local granary.