Thanks to everyone who answered! I thought some of you would be interested in what I found out. Overall, acorns rule! Stacey reports them being subordinate to a group of Eurasian collared doves, however.
Strangely enough, I can't contribute too much to this question. I know that scrub-jays in numbers can certainly overwhelm an acorn woodpecker group, but whether an acorn woodpecker is dominant over a scrub-jay in a fair contest I don't know. I wouldn't be surprised if it depended on the status of the acorn woodpecker (sex, age, etc.) as well as, perhaps, his/her group. As I like to say, someone should study those birds one of these days!
Kate, Probably true overall ...but it may be just a local inter-species relationship because of the support of a strong "ACWO clan" to back up
the individual. But, I don't know for certain. I can tell you for a fact that ACWO is not dominant of Sharp-shinned Hawks! ...watched a SSHA
Kill and eat a ACWO.
We observe the same behavior here on the coast, even in areas where ACWO are not resident year-round. On our property in Albion, ACWO only appear in summer breeding season; but when they show up at a feeder, everyone else (including Scrub-Jays and Steller's Jays) backs off and waits for them to leave. We don't have a colony of ACWO, just one breeding pair, so it's not a gang thing. I suppose they have extremely advanced pecking skills!
Middle Ridge, Albion
We have a house north of Redding on a few acres of Grey Pine and Blue/Live Oak woodland.
I maintain several suet feeders just outside a large picture window in my bedroom. I have been on medical leave for the past 3 weeks and was able to watch the feeders all day. We have a family of 4 ACWO and a family 4 WESJ. Both sets of parents reared 2 kids this year. The WESJ are super attracted to the suet feeders but can only gain access when the ACWO are away. Often there is a single ACWO posted at the feeders to keep them away. I have never seen physical contact at the feeders, only some stooping and dive-bombing by the ACWO. Occasionally they will display (mantle and call) at the feeders if there are WESJ in the area. I have observed that the ACWO are completely in charge of the feeders and have never seen the roles reversed.
Let me know if you have any specific questions.
Definitely true at our bird feeder. Acorns rule, followed by Steller�s and then Scrub-Jays.
Jeanne, Anchor Bay
Hi, I have noticed that no one at my feeding station messes with the Eurasion doves. The Acorns rarely stop at the suet feeder, which is close by, when the doves are about. The jays also leave. It is amazing how many doves can crowd onto a small sunny feeder at once. I sometimes wish someone would pitch a fit! The scrubs, stellars, and acorns all seem to share the feeders without much ado.
Good luck with your project, Stacey
I have both species of jays at my feeder and the ACWO family does dominate them. When the woodpeckers fly in everyone else scatters. The ACWO population seems to vary between 3 - 6 individuals and 2 will often tag-team to keep the jays away.
Inglenook, north of Fort Bragg
Hi Kate, not sure about this question. However I'm responding because I've noticed an interesting thing this year. There are 2 scrub jays that visit my backyard willow trees, that I think may be juveniles, who have learned to forage for insects in the manner of a woodpecker. In my mind, I'm imagining that they may have learned this behavior from the local Acorn Woodpeckers or Nuttal's Woodpeckers.
Perhaps this behavior is well known, but it is new to me and seems interesting.
At the Santa Rosa Junior College campus acorn woodpeckers were quite dominant�..but not to European starlings!
In my neighborhood (suburbanized oak woodland) I have both WESJs and
ACWOs, but I never see them interact. There are about 6 woodpeckers in this
clan, and they never come to my platform feeders or hanging feeders like I
have seen elsewhere - like that evening at Menasian's. Both the jays and
woodpeckers carry and stow acorns in this neighborhood.
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