Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Coombsville granaries.

The recent rains in Napa were accompanied by high winds strong enough to bring down lots of twigs, small branches, various lichens, oak apples and the remainder of last year's leaves.  The wind also brought down this rather large tree limb that had been converted into a fly-in larder - no doubt the handiwork of numerous Acorn Woodpeckers (Melanerpes formicivorous).  I had photographed such a tree as this before, but the fortuitous delivery of this particular branch onto my driveway meant that I could get up close and personal with a piece of avian artfulness.
Generations of woodpeckers will use the same tree, which is called a granary tree, year after year.  Acorns are such an important source of food for the woodpeckers that they will often nest and breed in the autumn to take advantage of autumn's crop of acorns. Western Scrub Jays and squirrels may also visit the granary trees to take acorns, but the woodpeckers are generally very aggressive, and very vociferous, in the defense of their particular tree.
Woodpeckers can be a bit of a nuisance to homeowners as they'll also peck holes in the wooden bits on ones house.  In Vinoland, the local woodpecker population seem to be quite smitten with the fascia right above my bedroom window, which is a bit of a problem as they get up and about a lot earlier in the morning than me.  I do wish they'd stick to storing their victuals in the furthest oak trees from the house.  Tap, tap.  Tap, tap.


Thud said...

There is something a bit uncomfortable and alien about that pic.

Vinogirl said...

Ah, Mother Nature at her weird, wonderful best...and manic woodpeckers!

Thomas said...

Sprinkle cayenne pepper on the spot where the peckers peck.

Here, some boids are going nuts as the maple sap started to flow early this year.

About Last Weekend said...

Whoah the woodpeckers, never knew about that pecking order...That branch is a little art piece and belongs on someone's mantel (I have seen branches like that sold in nNew York)

Vinogirl said...

Thomas: Would have to make a cayenne pepper paste, the fascia is vertical. Do the boids get pancakes with that?

ALW: I dunno, I'd be petrified of something crawling out of it whilst I was watching the telly!

NHwineman said...

Oh yeah, they can do a # on a tree, but really not much in the big scheme of things. You are right that they are "wonderful"!
Nature must first be loved to be saved, but that gets very complicated, like two people falling in love gets complicated. (see: Paris, Je T'aime http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0401711/?ref_=sr_1)