Thursday, August 16, 2007

Acorns Underfoot -- and in Process

As I was walking up the road toward home today, I happened to glance down at a neighbor's driveway. What should I see but many, many acorns.

I peered up the drive and saw still more.

And yet more. No place to grow a new oak tree, however. Nor did I collect a bag of the nuts, which I should have -- these were from the emory oak and are actually palatable without special treatment.

All of which reminded me that I had very recent picures of acorns in development on the turbinella scrub oaks up my hillside, including the half-formed little fellow below.

Now if only I had a close-up picture of an acorn woodpecker to complete the set. Here's how the birds earned that name.


sheoflittlebrain said...

It's kinda interesting that the Acorn Woodpeckers cycle the nuts. I discovered this when the patio became littered with the green caps of the fresh batch they were saving, and the empty, brown shells of last year's batch they were eating.

Chickenbells said...

They are all over...during my morning walks there is one specific place I come to and crunch-crunch through the trail! You should see my car, it's like a portable squirrels dream!

Granny J said...

Brain -- you've got me puzzled. The brown nuts I found surely weren't a year old and seasoned! I wonder if your squirrels are selective about the brand of acorn they deposit in the tree trunks...

CB -- sounds very autumnal, sorta like crunching all those yellow leaves.

sheoflittlebrain said...

Nope, this is Acorn Woodpeckers. They were storing green acorns after removing the caps, but eating brown ones like the one shown in the hole in your pic. I imagined them reusing some holes, although they certainly don't mind drilling new ones. Since we don't have oak trees, only pines, all the litter on my patio fell from the birds. I don't know how long it takes for an acorn to ripen and turn brown, but the woodpeckers are busy harvesting and storing the green acorns right now. They will continue to harvest acorns after they turn brown. It was just the contrast between the green caps and the empty brown shells that caught my attention. I could be wrong, but that's the evidence and stored food should be cycled. We need an Acorn Woodpecker specialist!

Granny J said...

Brain -- I eat my words! And now for a question: has anyone ever seen an acorn woodpecker removing an acorn from one of his storehouses???

Lori Witzel said...

I love the patterns the acorns made on the paving, but then, I would.


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