Treebeard's Homepage : Stumpers

Treebeard's Stumper
3 December 1999

Oh, Nuts!

Thanksgiving is our harvest festival. It's also harvest time in nature, especially for fruit and nuts, so here are two "nutty" stumpers. Lately, I've been noticing walnut shells on the tennis courts at school and on nearby roads. But there are no walnut trees growing in the immediate area. How do the shells get here? I've also been noticing the noisy Acorn Woodpeckers stuffing new acorns into trees and telephone poles. Woodpeckers are insectivores that mostly eat ants and grubs. So why do these woodpeckers hoard so many acorns?

Walnut shells on the tennis courts. Acorn Woodpecker granary in utility pole.
Walnut shells that I collected on the school tennis courts. The large nuts
are cultivated English Walnuts from a nearby orchard. The smaller thick nuts
are from the native Southern California Black Walnut (Juglans californica)
that grows along Alamo Pintado Creek about a mile away.
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)
granary in utility pole. Note that the scientific
name literally means "ant-eating woodpecker".
This pole will soon have to be replaced!

Answer


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Copyright © 1999 by Marc Kummel / mkummel@rain.org