TRITON COCKATOO DAISYAND THE ACORN WOODPECKER
by Sally Blanchard
Sometimes I feel like a nut ... maybe an Acorn? Acorn woodpeckers are famous for the fact that they drill holes in trees to store the acorns. They are a fairly common bird in California oak forests. Sometimes a birdwatcher can find many trees with thousands of acorns placed there by these woodpeckers. They will also store their acorns in telephone poles, wooden buildings, fence posts and these 'granaries' have even been found in automobile radiators. Their granaries are quite visible and several other birds, including the local jays, rob the acorns.
Many years ago, I visited Chris Shank when she lived near Grass Valley, California. She had a trained multiple species flock of free-flying cockatoos. She taught the majority of the 'toos to accept her as "flock-leader" and to stay within the territory of her large yard. In the late afternoon, she would round them all up to get them in their aviaries for the night. Daisy was a Triton cockatoo that didn't always follow all of the rules. One of her favorite past times was to rob acorns from the local acorn woodpecker's stash. The 85 gram, 9-inch woodpecker was no match for the Triton cockatoo. They can weigh in at close to 700 grams and can be 18 inches from tail to beak. As much as the 'too was attacked by the woodpecker trying to save its stash, Daisy just kept eating acorns.