Friday, May 29, 2009
Nuts for Nuts
Male Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus, Silver Meadows, Santa Rosa Plateau, California. What a beauty, huh? These little guys stash acorns into holes in an old oak tree, often referred to as a "granary tree," which they use to tide them over until Spring when bugs become available. If you look closely, you can see the holes in the bark where the little colony of woodpeckers has pounded in acorns into the soft oak bark. You can also see that the acorns are mostly gone except for perhaps a little tidbit in his beak and that the transition to the bug menu must be ongoing. These birds are found in oak forests up and down the coast and also in parts of Arizona, Texas and Mexico. I saw one once up near Palo Alto many years ago but these are the only ones I've seen since then. Perhaps, if people would leave the big old oaks on their property, we would see them more often. On the other hand, can you imagine if they decided that your house made a better granary than the oak tree (OMG!)?
What would happen if people went vegetarian every Winter and carnivore each Spring? Historically, perhaps it was the other way around for early man, prior to developing agriculture and grain storage.