Acorn Woodpecker

"The Accomplished Carpenter"

        If you’ve ever seen a tree riddled with holes, you may wonder about the carpenter who did it.  Let me tell you about an accomplished carpenter I know who works on trees.  It’s the Acorn Woodpecker.  Commonly found in California because of its many oak habitats.  This woodpecker gets his name from his favorite food, acorns.  Acorn Woodpeckers are fond of fruit, a variety of insects, and ants, too.  A great bird to have around.  acorn woodpecker

        Back to the holes.....  This Acorn Woodpecker stores acorns in trees by drilling a hole, just the size to insert a particular acorn.  He dows this over and over again, sometimes placing thousands of nuts in a single tree trunk.  The holes he drills are not deep enough to damage the tree, but deep enough to secure the acorn.  Now that takes skill.  He will also drill small holes in trees to dine on the sap.  When the acorns are harvested, and winter arrives, the Acorn Woodpeckers work together in groups of 10 to 15 birds to defend their cache of food.  

        The 9 inch Acorn Woodpecker, with its clown-like face of black and white markings, and red top is a beauty.  There is no mistaking the breeding call of “Ja-cob, Ja-cob”, or “wake-up, wake-up”.  Most Acorn Woodpeckers do not migrate when there is food.  When they do, you may be fortunate enough to catch sight of one as they pass through our area.  

        We spotted our first Acorn Woodpecker coming back from Kolob Reservoir in a mixed habitat of Oak and Quaking Aspen.  If you are able to spend time at Kolob, keep your eyes open for this beautiful Woodpecker which will enhance the already splendid country.  

        Judy Warren is the artist of the Acorn Woodpecker this week.  Thank you Judy for giving us an opportunity to see and maybe recognize this beautiful woodpecker.  For more information about birds, call Marilyn Davis at 435 673-00996 or attend our next Red Cliffs Audubon meeting December 12th at 7:00 p. at Tonaquint Nature Center.

(Note:  Since Marilyn is out of town this week I, the "webmaster" have taken the liberty to post this article.  I took the only picture Marilyn had of an acorn woodpecker so I'm hoping that this is Judy's drawing.  If not, Judy, you can contact me at

Past Articles:

"Cold Days and Good Memories"  (White Pelican) 
"Where's Sherlock Holmes When You Need Him?" (YB Cuckoo)
"Tale of Four Birders"  (Western Scrub Jay)
"East Zion Continued" (Golden-crowned Kinglet),
Vermilion Flycatcher
"Aerial Wolves" (Sharp-shinned Hawk)
"From Clown School to Pond" (Ruddy Duck)
"Shades of Red" (Red-tailed Hawk).
"Predatory Songbird" (Northern Shrike)
"The Cagey Killdeer"
"A True Bird Story" (Willet)
"A Song to Remember" (Hermit Thrush)
"To Catch a Fish..." (Green Heron aka Green-backed Heron)
"No Spring Cleaning" (Brown-headed Cowbird)
"Look-alikes Galore" (Sage Sparrow)

"A Jazzy Singer" (Cassin's Finch)
"Salute the Coot" (American Coot)
"Put a Smile on Your Face" (Greater Roadrunner)
"The Tale of Fred and Ethel" (Mallard)
"A Flutter of Sparrows" (Clay-colored Sparrow)
"A Sight to Remember" (Blue-gray gnatcatcher)
"About Night Life" (Northern Saw-whet Owl)
"Black and White and Smart All Over" (BB Magpie)
"Dressed for Dinner... of Fine Wines and Bugs" (RN Sapsucker)
"A Life List" (Painted Redstart)
"Bird-Brained" (Flammulated Owl)
"Needle in a Haystack" (White-throated Sparrow)
"Booby Hatch" (Red-breasted Nuthatch)
"The Crowd Pleaser" (Western Tanager)
"Seeds and Civilization" (American Tree Sparrow)
"A Childhood Treasure" (Black-headed Grosbeak)
"Those Itchy Red Bumps" (Cliff Swallow)
"Is There a Bee in Your Bonnet" (Utah bees)
"Where's My Winter Coat" (Great-tailed Grackle)
"Ice Age Tree Planter" (Blue Jay)
"An Uncommon Beauty" (Black-and-white Warbler)
"What's In a Name" (American Redstart)
"When the Cold Winds Blow" (Western Grebe)
"A National Beauty" (Bald Eagle)
"Feathered Tiger" (Cooper's Hawk)

Home - Red Cliffs Audubon