Acorn Woodpeckers

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.

 Acorn Woodpecker

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.

Acorn Woodpecker

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. 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.”

Acorn Woodpecker

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.

Acorn Woodpecker

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.

5 thoughts on “Acorn Woodpeckers”

  1. So that’s what these guys are! I see them all the time around Lake Ralphine, them being rather impossible to miss with that crazy red cap. Reminds me of Cardinals—the baseball playing kind in St. Louis!

  2. I’ve started to recognize the calls of the woodpeckers around here. They are kind of unique, and bear some resemblance to Woody the Woodpecker’s “ha-ha-ha-HA-ha.” They’re a bit more camera shy than yours, though.

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