California Live Oaks are magnets for Acorn Woodpeckers, who use them for nest sites, a source of food, and a place to hang out with friends. These are very social woodpeckers, with youngsters from previous years staying on to help raise the current year’s offspring. This makes for a very large, noisy family, as they communicate with each other about the status of this year’s acorn storage from the trunks of the live oaks.
Although their diet consists of flying and crawling insects, other arthropods, fruit, sap, and flower nectar, they are noted for their extensive nut storage granaries, particularly for acorns. Hundreds to thousands of holes may be drilled in dead trees, into which acorns are wedged so tightly, other animals are unable to remove them.
For more information about the love life of Acorn Woodpeckers, and a great video of their activity, see my earlier post “Nutty for Acorns“.