06/18/2023 Woodpecker Highlights

It all started with this small hole in an old tree trunk.

Nuttall's hole

When walking the dog one morning I passed one of the older rotting oak trunks and heard a very faint squeak. After looking and listening for a few minutes I noticed the small opening of a nest cavity. But what was in there?

Nuttall's Woodpecker

After completing my dog walk I returned with my camera and found a spot to sit and wait. And then he appeared. A little male Nuttall’s Woodpecker with a beak full of bugs.

Nuttall's Woodpecker

On my first few sessions  he would stick his head completely into the hole then be off again looking for more bugs. He was the only bird working the cavity. There was no female to be seen. 

Male and Female Acorn Woodpeckers

Meanwhile at another cavity a pair of Acorn Woodpeckers were also hard at work. Unlike the Nuttall’s, the Acorn will often use the same nest cavity year after year, and in the past I’d seen this one being used. 

California Scrub Jay

When I returned to the Nuttall’s Cavity I witnessed a Scrub Jay stcicking it’s head in the Cavity looking for a meal. I didn’t see it with any chicks but I don’t doubt it had been successfull at some point. 

Nuttal's Woodpecker beak full

Chicks require LOTS of protein and without the help of his partner this male had his work cut out for him. But as can be seen from his beak, he was up to the task.

butcher block

Meanwhile at the Acorn Cavity, there are other, more formidable predators. The Cooper’s Hawk is also feeding it’s brood. 

Nuttall's Woodpecker chick

Within a few days the small Nuttal’s chick made an appearance. 

And frantic feeding was the norm for the next few days. 

3 woodpeckers

Meanwile at the Acorn Cavity…. A curious chick is starting to wonder at what is beyond the entrance hole.

male acorn woodpecker

And the frantic food deliveries continue. The male is heading out, having just made a deposit.

Acorn Woodpecker

When the chicks are still relatively small, the parents will climb all the way into the hole, feed the chicks, then leave. 

Meanwhile…. this was the last shot of the Nuttall’s before it fledged. There was only one chick. A proud father indeed.

Feeding time

Over at the Acorn cavity the parent and other family members were busy feeding several chicks. 


Keep checking in, more to come.


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Clumsy landing

The first ever clumsy landing after it’s first ever fledgling flight.  

The Lake is Now Open

The Lake is now open to limited boating and fishing. The State of California amended the mandated maximum water level of Lake Hodges to never exceed 280’ (80’ actual depth at the dam) until the new dam is built…. At this level the pump station will be inoperable and the launch ramp is above the water line, so no private trailer launching.  

How this will affect the Grebes nesting cycle is still unsure? The timeline for completion of the proposed new dam is currently 12 years. In that time frame new vegetation may grow and provide material for nest building, but the areas available for nesting may be too exposed to the elements and predators? Historically Grebes have not nested when the Lake levels have been this low, but as a founding board member of the Friends of Lake Hodges, https://friendsoflakehodges.org/ , I’m looking into addressing this issue. I encourage you to take a look or better yet, get involved.  

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Rancho Bernardo

Inn | 16 min. drive entrance to Lake

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