Acorn Woodpecker Contemplating a Sunset near Yosemite National Park
I realize the explanation is a bit more prosaic, but I couldn't help but think that this Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) was quietly contemplating a beautiful sunset yesterday in the Sierra Nevada foothills just a few miles south of the Wawona entrance of Yosemite National Park. We were exploring the Nelder Grove of Sequoia trees, and saw the bird in a dead Ponderosa tree.
Some birds are incredibly intelligent, but we don't generally give them credit for enjoying things beyond their sphere of perception, mainly where their food and shelter is, and where the predators are. A fiery sky in the distance mainly provides a bit more light as far as they are concerned. Given the many holes drilled into the trunk of the snag, it's a granary tree. I have no doubt the bird was guarding its supply of acorns that have been secreted into the holes.