Acorn Woodpeckers are very common on the Monterey Peninsula and are found in the wooded areas and at some backyard feeders. This pair was busy enjoying the free food the other day, first feeding individually and then surprisingly, one began to feed the other. We were happy to get some fine action detail in the following shots.
Wikipedia is always an informative source of information on birds and this reference gives a good account of the Acorn Woodpecker behavior in California here.
The range map on the Cornell site shows the coastal habitat of the Acorn Woodpecker here.
Interestingly, the Seattle Audubon site describes that Washington is at the extreme northern end of the Acorn Woodpecker range. They apparently bred only in southern-most Klickitat County in 1990, but were last seen at this site in early 1992. The link to the Seattle Audubon site is here.
Sibley's tells us on page 307 that the Pacific population of Acorn Woodpeckers average 15-20% longer bills than the inland population, with little overlap. These are the Pacific population since we are only about 1/4 mile from Monterey Bay at this location.
We note the slightly different eye color. The bird at the rear seems to have a blue cast to the eye whereas the one in front has the more typical white coloration. There are even better examples below.
We were not sure which one was feeding the other.
We were fortunate to get this shot of three Acorn Woodpeckers feeding at the same time. Note that the female is on the left and the same two males from the above shots are on the right. The female has the distinctive black band on the forehead between the yellow and red. The unusual eye color of the top male on the right is also seen in this shot. We will have to do more research on possible variations in eye color.
The shot below shows the more typical eye color of the mature male. Note the seed detail in the beak of the male in front.
The female Acorn Woodpecker posed briefly on the top of the feeder hanger before dropping down to feed with the two males.
We had another visitor - an immature California Jay came to the other feeder. The Jays are here year-round and seem to particularly enjoy the shelled sunflower seeds.
This individual was about 10' away when we got these shots with the Nikon D7000 using the Nikon 300mm f4 lens and a 1.7x teleconverter. Some report that this combination will not auto focus well. Our experience is that with sufficient light, this combination will focus fast and accurately. No complaints about sharpness in these shots.
We will be testing the Nikon 2.0x teleconverter in the near future. They are very scarce but having ordered one in January, we are informed it is now on its way here.