A forest bird never wants a cage

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A forest bird never wants a cage

A Henrik Ibsen quotation

Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn Woodpecker

This bird (Melanerpes formicivorus) is a medium-sized bird about 8 inches long with an average weight of 85 g. The adult has a black head, back, wings and tail, white forehead, throat, belly and rump. The eyes are white. The adult male has a red cap starting at the forehead, whereas females have a black area between the forehead and the cap. The white neck, throat and forehead patches are distinctive identifiers.

The breeding habitat is forested areas with oaks in the hills of coastal California and the southwestern United States south to Colombia. This species may occur at low elevations in the north of its range, but rarely below 1000 meters in Central America, and it breeds up to the timberline.

As their name implies, they depend heavily on acorns for food. In some parts of their range (e.g., California), groups create granaries or “acorn trees” by drilling holes in dead trees, dead branches, and wooden buildings. They then collect acorns and find a hole that is just the right size for the acorn. In addition to acorns they can also be seen sallying from tree limbs to catch insects, eating fruit and seeds, and drilling holes to drink sap.

This bird is a permanent resident throughout its range. They may relocate to another area if acorns are not readily available. It is sedentary and very sociable.



A forest bird never wants a cage

By Henrik Ibsen


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