Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Acorn Woodpecker

The acorn woodpecker, 
also called the California woodpecker, is our most common local woodpecker in Redlands and in Southern California. They are found from Oregon, south through California (on the western side of the Sierras), Arizona, New Mexico and West Texas, and down to Panama. They love acorns and store them in holes in trees and telephone poles. They have what is deemed a "clownish" face, 
which is black with a red cap, a white forehead, whitish eyes, white cheeks and a black bill. 
The clownish look is primarily the eyes, but also the bill that looks like it could be a carrot nose sticking out of a snowman. 
It also has a black back, wings 
and upper chest and white rump and lower chest and belly. 
They are quite loud and raucus (click to find a site where you can hear their calls). A number of years ago the Living Desert in Palm Desert has an exhibit with acorn woodpeckers and you could pick your fingers up to the cage and the woodpeckers would jab at your fingers with their sturdy tongues. It was a very weird feeling. The woodpeckers in these pictures were photographed near Warner Springs, California while hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail. 

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