Acorn Woodpecker In The Santa Ritas

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Today I’m featuring one more Sky Island inhabitant. This is the Acorn Woodpecker.

Acorn Woodpeckers are a common sight in the higher elevations of the mountain ranges in southern Arizona. I’ve seen and photographed them in the Santa Catalina and Baboquivari Mountains, or in the case of the individuals that I’m featuring today, the Santa Ritas. These woodpeckers show up in the mountainous regions of Arizona and New Mexico and in the higher elevations along the United States’ West Coast. Their range extends through the mountain ranges of Mexico.

As is evident from these images, Acorn Woodpeckers have a striking appearance with their red, white, and blue plumage and their distinctive pale eyes. The male, featured above, has a red cap on his head that extends to the white plumage on his forehead. The female, shown below, has a smaller red cap with a blue band between the cap and the white forehead plumage.

Acorn Woodpeckers typically live in extremely close knit flocks. They utter loud and very distinctive calls and one can often hear these birds before one sees them.

As their name implies, they love to feed on acorns. They’re known for storing food in a communal “food bank” from which members of the flock can feed. The woodpeckers will select a single large tree and drill numerous holes in the bark. They will then place an acorn into each hole, turning the tree into a sort of woodpecker pantry.

Images made with a Canon R5, Canon RF 100-500mm f4.5-7.1 IS L zoom lens, M setting (auto ISO). First image, ISO 400, f9 @ 1/2000, -1 2/3 stops exposure compensation. Second image, ISO 400, f7.1 @ 1/2000, – 1 2/3 stops exposure compensation.

3 Replies to “Acorn Woodpecker In The Santa Ritas”

  1. cintwigg says:

    I am wondering: do all of those holes used for acorn storage hurt the tree being used as a woodpecker pantry?

  2. Sherry Felix says:

    Yet to see. Nice shots.

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