Acorn Woodpeckers Bring Their Juveniles to the Woodpecker Feeder

by Larry Jordan on July 10, 2011

Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) Male photos by Larry Jordan

Saturday I had some time to just relax and watch the clown-faced member of the woodpecker family, the Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus), as the adults brought their juveniles to the feeder (click on photos for full sized images).

It is fitting that they sport the clown face too because they really put on a show chasing each other around through the trees and around the woodpecker feeder.

This first video begins with a juvenile male at the feeder as he goes about eating some smaller seeds and discarding others as he searches for the larger nuts in the mix, followed by what appears to be an adult male and then an adult female who goes through some contortions to get what she wants.

This is a close up of the male Acorn Woodpecker showing the light colored iris and bright red crown of the adult bird.  This particular male is one of the few having a small red spot below his throat on his breast.

The female has a broad black stripe separating her bright red crown from her white forehead.

Here is a close up of the contortion maneuver she used to extract her treasure from the feeder.

The difference in magnification from the first video to this second video and the photos is the difference between my 400mm lens and the digiscope setup.

This video includes a close up of the juvenile male and you can also hear the “laughing” call of the Acorn Woodpecker near the beginning.

I hope you enjoyed watching them as much as I did!

To see more great bird photography, check out Bird Photography Weekly!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Mick July 10, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Beautiful birds and great photos and videos. I just wish I could see these ‘clowns’ in real life!


The Zen Birdfeeder July 11, 2011 at 7:53 am

Great post. I love the look of these birds and can’t wait to see them myself one day!


TexWisGirl July 11, 2011 at 10:28 am

such unique looking birds! great shots!


NatureFootstep July 11, 2011 at 10:51 am

great shots and videos. 🙂


Sallie (FullTime-Life) July 11, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Wonderful post! He does look like a little clown (and sounds like one too!)


Luisa July 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Great photos and videos! Had the delightful [and kind of surreal] experience of reading this excellent post while glancing at Acorn Woodpeckers chowing down and squaring off at my own feeders. Acorn Woodpeckers are my neighborhood bullies — they chase Flickers and others away from whatever feeder they’re interested in — but I can’t imagine a day without them.


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