Acorn woodpeckers hoarded over 700 pounds of nuts in California vacation rental

Woodpeckers stacked over 700 pounds of acorns 20 to 25 feet high in a California home’s chimney.

Santa Rosa exterminator Nick Castro made the discovery during a December vacation rental inspection for mealworms in Glen Ellen, California, according to the Press Democrat.

When Castro cut a hole in a bedroom wall, 700 pounds of acorns came rushing out.

“I’ve never seen anything like that,” Castro, owner of Nick’s Extreme Pest Control, told the outlet. “The more acorns I pulled out from the wall, the more there were. It felt like it wasn’t going to end.”

Over 700 pounds of acorns had been stacked 20 to 25 feet high in a Glen Ellen home’s chimney by a pair of woodpeckers.
Over 700 pounds of acorns had been stacked 20 to 25 feet high in a Glen Ellen home’s chimney by a pair of woodpeckers.

A pair of acorn woodpeckers, known for hoarding large amounts of acorns, had pecked holes in the two-story home’s chimney stack, Castro told the Press Democrat.


He estimated the woodpeckers were adding to the stockpile for two to five years.

When woodpeckers stashed acorns behind the house's trim and destroyed its wood siding, the prior owners wrapped the house in vinyl, which ultimately failed to prevent these advantageous woodpeckers from claiming the house for free oak nuts storage.

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Castro’s crew filled eight garbage bags full of the birds’ hoard. Because the acorns were covered by fiberglass and rat droppings, the bags were so heavy that Castro’s crew could barely pick them up, he quipped.

Although acorn woodpeckers, found in oak and mixed oak-evergreen forests on the West Coast and in the Southwest, typically harvest the nuts in dead trees, these birds can also choose unusual spots for storage, Castro said — especially as they adapt with evolving landscapes.

Camille Fine is a trending visual producer on USA TODAY's NOW team. 

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 700 pounds of nuts found in CA vacation rental from acorn woodpecker