Sunday, February 3, 2008

Little Dudes: Acorn Woodpecker -- Melanerpes formicivorus

The Northern-most range of the Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) is nearby, and in a somewhat unexpected place. They live right on Pacific University's Forest Grove campus. I was there today and saw some of the little scuppers flitting about in the ginormous (yes that's a word), old and beautiful Oak trees that grace the campus grounds.

Birder types [notice the distancing language -- "types"] get pretty twitterpated about things like this. It seemed a bit odd to me at first, but I realized that they are just geeks in a different way than I am. At an earlier spot that day, I grabbed a "Capnia" or Winter Stonefly off one of my classmate's jackets and excitedly explained how this is the first "big" bug that comes out in the winter on trout streams and how the trout really go crazy for them. I'm really not in a position to judge geekiness, now am I.

Acorn woodpeckers were a staple bird of my childhood nature walks in California -- so I wasn't too worked up about seeing them. My cool detachment softened a bit when we got our binoculars on a few of them -- it had been years since I'd actually laid eyes upon one. They are colorful, interesting birds quite a bit of character. They excavate holes in the dead branches of the trees and stuff acorns in them to store for later. They're spunky and kind of bold -- in short, cool little dudes.

Enjoy your local biological claims to fame,



Tate said...

wow your geekiness runs in many channels

Anonymous said...

We have 'evolved' nuthatches and a variety of woodpeckers who pick up 1/2 peanuts from our flat feeder and neatly tuck them into close-by areas, between openings in bark, between the clothes line and the limbs its wound around, etc...only to fly away and find some industrious wren or chickadee has already absconded with the tidbit. They spend endless amounts of time looking for them...can't hear the tittering from the cute guys higher on the limbs... ah, life... va momma

Anonymous said...

Do those "ginormous" oaks have anything to do with good gin? jdm (one of those "twitterpated geeks)

Bpaul said...

I'm sure they could, I'm quite sure they could LOL.