The Acorn Woodpecker has one of the most distinctive faces of all the birds in North America! Though often said to have a ‘clown face’, I prefer to think of these beauties as clown princes, and princesses, of the bird world.
As if their very boldly patterned faces weren’t enough to garner them attention, they have rather raucous calls. Listen to their calls on the Audubon Guides webpage.
These birds are named for the nut that they spend many hours collecting and storing in holes they drill in trees. One of these so-called ‘granary trees’ where they store their acorns can have up to ’50,000 holes in it, each of which is filled with an acorn in autumn” according to All About Birds.Org. They store these acorns to provide food for them through winter when other food sources may be gone.
Acorn Woodpeckers are generally found from California to southern Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico and west Texas. Their have been two small populations in Colorado, one in the far southwestern part of the state, and the other on the eastern slope only a few miles from New Mexico.
Fortunately for me, a pair of Acorn Woodpeckers was found this June only 50 miles from where I live along the southern front range of Colorado. And this week-end I took these photographs of them as I watched them bringing food to a nest hole, documentation that they are nesting here. I think that’s pretty cool.
The above photo shows the female peaking out of the nest hole after bringing food in to her babies. These birds eat insects in addition to acorns and catch them in mid-air. I observed both the female and the male bringing insects into this nest hole to feed their babies. Like babies of a number of species including humans, baby birds need a lot of protein and even seed-eating species feed insects to their offspring to meet their protein needs.
The first Acorn Woodpeckers I saw nested in a tree in a lucky person’s front yard. Wouldn’t that be fun to have Acorn Woodpeckers in you yard?