If I lived in Northern California I’d probably have a hard drive full of Acorn Woodpeckers and not a hard drive full of Great Blue Heron or Belted Kingfisher. I only discovered them a few years ago and even more recently at Lake Ralphine.
Originally I was attracted to them because of their striking features, the bright red cap, the white face and the distinctive beak.
They didn’t look like any other woodpecker I’ve ever seen.
Later, though, I was attracted to their behavior. They often seem curious about that weird guy with the camera. Even if they fly off at first, they will often return shortly and look intently at me.
Their behavior is intriguing, too. You can find trees with hundreds of acorns stored in tiny holes, but they also seem to be constantly foraging for food. allaboutbirds.org states that “Besides nuts and insects, Acorn Woodpeckers also eat fruit, sap, oak catkins, and flower nectar, along with occasional grass seeds, lizards, and even eggs of their own species.”
Of course, the more you photograph any bird the more you begin to notice about them. In these recent closeups I was particularly intrigued by their claws, particularly the size in relationship to the rest of their body.
It doesn’t hurt that it’s impossible to miss these woodpeckers when they are around because they live in large families, another unusual trait.