This Morning Outside

Redbelly Cache

Red-bellied Woodpecker

I'm wondering whether the Red-bellied Woodpecker will remember where she's stashing this acorn in a hole in a snag.

If not, then after the dead tree finally falls, maybe the acorn will sprout, along with a few others. They would be pretty much in a line, wouldn't they? And someday, when the log has rotted all away, someone might wonder about a line of same-aged oak trees in a row.

Stashing nuts away for winter use is almost a full-time job for woodpeckers in autumn.

We have only a few woodpeckers in North America who cache food like this. The more famous one is the Acorn Woodpecker, in western North America. But Red-bellies do it also. 

Oak—Bird—Tree 

Oak tree feeds acorns to the bird. Bird puts drops acorns into dead oak trees. Lots of those acorns must get lost in there.

Happy result: more oak trees.

Seems like a good reason to leave dead trees standing, at least wherever they are not a hazard to people, buildings, or roads. Our woodpeckers need those trees. They're as valuable after they die as they are while actively growing.

— Diane Porter, Fairfield, Iowa, October 10, 2021