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Acorn Woodpeckers as Urban Scavengers?

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  • kschnei1000
    On a recent visit to Santa Barbara for a professional meeting, I was surprised to see groups of Acorn Woodpeckers along the waterfront picking up bits of bread
    Message 1 of 4 , Jun 7, 2008
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      On a recent visit to Santa Barbara for a professional meeting, I was
      surprised to see groups of Acorn Woodpeckers along the waterfront
      picking up bits of bread and other human leftovers from the ground and
      storing it in cracks in the nearby palm trees. I know that these
      woodpeckers feed on insects as well as stored acorns, but I've never
      seen this before, and I'm wondering if others have noticed this
      behavior in urban or suburban California populations of ACWO?

      Ken Schneider, Redwood City
    • BJ Stacey
      Hi Ken, I was just told last weekend by the ranger at Laguna Mountain that the Acorn Woodpeckers don t actually eat acorns. They eat the insects that are
      Message 2 of 4 , Jun 8, 2008
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        Hi Ken,

        I was just told last weekend by the ranger at Laguna Mountain that the Acorn Woodpeckers don't actually eat acorns. They eat the insects that are attracted to the acorns. If this is true, perhaps those birds have found a way to survive with the lack of acorn but still using the same old trick.

        BJ Stacey
        Santee, CA


        Fins to fur, fangs to feathers: capturing wildlife through a lens.
        Check out my web site:
        http://www.finatic-photography.com/




        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Kimball Garrett
        BJ and Calbirders, The ranger at Laguna Mountain who told you that Acorn Woodpeckers don t eat acorns should stick to putting out campfires and emptying
        Message 3 of 4 , Jun 8, 2008
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          BJ and Calbirders,

          The ranger at Laguna Mountain who told you that Acorn Woodpeckers don't eat acorns should stick to putting out campfires and emptying garbage cans and stay way from interpretation. Acorn Woodpeckers do indeed eat acorns (53.3% of their diet and 58.9% of their diet in two studies cited in the BNA account). Insects are indeed an important (and seasonally preferred) foot item, but acorns are a fundamental part of the species' diet.

          Kimball

          Kimball L. Garrett
          Section of Ornithology
          Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
          900 Exposition Blvd.
          Los Angeles, CA 90007
          213-763-3368
          kgarrett@...


          ________________________________

          From: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com on behalf of BJ Stacey
          Sent: Sun 6/8/2008 3:28 PM
          To: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [CALBIRDS] Re:Acorn Woodpeckers as Urban Scavengers?



          Hi Ken,

          I was just told last weekend by the ranger at Laguna Mountain that the Acorn Woodpeckers don't actually eat acorns. They eat the insects that are attracted to the acorns. If this is true, perhaps those birds have found a way to survive with the lack of acorn but still using the same old trick.

          BJ Stacey
          Santee, CA





          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Joseph Morlan
          On Sun, 8 Jun 2008 15:28:02 -0700 (PDT), BJ Stacey ... Ah, the old worm theory raises its head from the grave. This is totally untrue.
          Message 4 of 4 , Jun 8, 2008
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            On Sun, 8 Jun 2008 15:28:02 -0700 (PDT), BJ Stacey <bjinsd@...>
            wrote:

            > I was just told last weekend by the ranger at Laguna Mountain that the Acorn Woodpeckers don't actually eat acorns. They eat the insects that are attracted to the acorns. If this is true, perhaps those birds have found a way to survive with the lack of acorn but still using the same old trick.

            Ah, the old "worm theory" raises its head from the grave.

            This is totally untrue. Acorn Woodpeckers eat acorns. Some acorns may
            contain worms, but that is by accident, not design.

            It doesn't matter how many times this bogus theory gets debunked, people
            still remember it and still repeat it without ever checking the facts.

            --
            Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA 94044 jmorlan (at) ccsf.edu
            Birding Classes start Sep 9 in SF http://fog.ccsf.edu/~jmorlan/
            California Bird Records Committee http://www.wfo-cbrc.org/cbrc/
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