Sunday, 14 August 2022

Redbud Audubon features program on acorn woodpeckers

An acorn woodpecker at a granary tree in Lake County. Photo by Brad Barnwell.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — The Thursday, Jan. 20, program meeting for the Redbud Audubon Society will feature Dr. Walt Koenig, an expert on acorn woodpeckers and a scientist who has been studying these fascinating birds for years.

The program will be on Zoom and starts at 7 p.m. To register, go to and click on the registration link on the home page. The link to join will be sent to you the day of the program.

Acorn woodpeckers, best known for their unique habit of storing acorns by the thousands in special structures known as “granaries,” exhibit one of the most complex social systems of any bird.

Family groups of this species, sometimes numbering a dozen or more birds, contain multiple breeders of both sexes, a rare phenomenon called “polygynandry,” along with young from prior years that serve as “helpers-at-the-nest.”

Walt Koenig more years ago than he cares to remember, at an acorn woodpecker nest. Photo by Galen Rowell.

Based on a study of this species at Hastings Reservation in Monterey County, Dr. Koenig will explain some of the strikingly cooperative and surprisingly competitive behaviors of this species that he and his colleagues have discovered during their 50+ year field study.

After studying acorn woodpeckers for his Ph.D., Walt Koenig was a research zoologist at Hastings Reservation, a field station located in the upper Carmel Valley run by the Museum of Vertebrate Zoologist at UC Berkeley, from 1982 to 2008.

He subsequently was a senior scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York, from 2008 to 2016.

He retired in 2016 and returned to upper Carmel Valley, where he currently studies acorn production by California oaks and continues to contribute to the acorn woodpecker study.

Join them for this fascinating program and learn about the habits of this common yet amazing resident bird of Lake County.

Two females at a communal nest. The bird at the hole is about to feed acorn pieces to the young. Photo by Bruce Lyon.

Upcoming Calendar

08.15.2022 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Community Visioning Forum Planning Committee
08.16.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.16.2022 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Rotary Club of Clear Lake
08.18.2022 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
08.20.2022 7:30 am - 3:00 pm
Yard sale to benefit Sponsoring Survivorship
08.20.2022 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Junior Ranger Program: Weather and climate
08.20.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
08.20.2022 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Weekly writing workshop
08.20.2022 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Taste of Lake County

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