Friday, April 28, 2017

Acorn Woodpecker in a Not Expected Tree

Sometimes bird-hunting happens when we're not expecting it. I was briefly in Southern California last week and we were in downtown Hemet waiting for dinner to be packed up at a Greek delicatessen. Palm trees of course are the iconic tree of Southern California, and there were a dozen or so in the vacant lot across the street. I was watching the birds, expecting Starlings, hoping for Hooded Orioles, but seeing something else entirely: Acorn Woodpeckers (Melanerpes formicivorus).
Of course in retrospect, a palm tree isn't a bad location for a woodpecker. The bark is soft, perhaps allowing for the easy storage of acorns gathered elsewhere, and as it turns out, for quarrying nest openings. I first noticed the birds hanging upside down where the nest was apparently located.
Acorn Woodpeckers are common in oak woodlands across the Pacific Coast states and Baja, so they aren't an unusual sight. It was just a bit odd to see them on a tree that makes dates rather than acorns...
Southern California, where the tropical mingles with the alpine (San Jacinto Peak is nearly 11,000 feet high and covered with snow in winter).

No comments:

Post a Comment