Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Acorn Woodpecker at Sequoia National Park

I have such a backlog of bird pictures accumulated in the last three weeks. I've been to the Cascades of Northern California, the Merced National Wildlife Refuge, and Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks, and there are riches at each. And I have so little time available, having reached the middle of the semester...

The Sequoia trip was the most recent, and we didn't actually see a great many birds, but at our first stop in the park, one of my students noticed the Acorn Woodpeckers (Melanerpes formicivorus) in the trees above our vehicles. We were at the Foothills Visitor Center in the lower elevations of the park where the vegetation is dominated more by oak trees and chaparral. That's the ideal habitat for the woodpeckers. They have plenty of acorns, and lots of large "granary trees" where they drill thousands of holes to store their nutty treasures. They are very social birds, and generate a lot of noise as they chase through the tree tops. They are among my favorites.

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