An exterminator in Santa Rosa, California, was in for a big surprise when he arrived to perform a vacation rental inspection in nearby Glen Ellen. Tasked with determining the presence of mealworms, what should have been a routine job turned out to be anything but.
Once inside, Nick Castro, owner of Nick’s Extreme Pest Control, set about cutting a small hole in a bedroom wall just above the baseboard. That’s when the deluge began. It seems a pair of industrious woodpeckers had been using the house as their personal storage space. Woodpeckers essentially use their beaks as jackhammers to peck holes in things like wood and cacti in order to stash food they’ll dine on at a later date. In this case, it was acorns — LOTS of acorns. In fact, 700 pounds of them came pouring out of the wall.
It was so bad that he eventually had to enlarge the hole and then add another, even bigger hole — and still, they kept coming. All told, he and his crew filled eight large garbage bags full to the top with acorns. Even with more than 20 years in the business, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
“I’ve never seen anything like that,” he told the Press Democrat. “The more acorns I pulled out from the wall, the more there were. It felt like it wasn’t going to end.”
According to University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources, acorn woodpeckers place numerous acorns in holes they drill in buildings, wooden fence posts, utility poles, and old tree snags. The acorn woodpecker may also take a quicker approach and wedge acorns beneath wooden shakes or shingles and in the process be very destructive.
In this case, when the woodpeckers hid their acorns behind the house’s trim and destroyed the original wood siding, the acorns gradually began working their way into the walls of the home. After vinyl siding was installed, the birds began using the chimney. In need of repair, the nuts spilled from it, too.
The culprits were fittingly a pair of acorn woodpeckers, known as prolific hoarders that can give squirrels a run for their money. The busy duo had pecked holes in the two-story home’s chimney stack as well, Castro explained, adding that he estimated they’d been contributing to the cache for two to five years. During that time, they managed to fill the chimney 20 to 25 feet high with acorns. That’s some strong work for a couple of 3.0 oz birds.
Check out the YouTube video about it posted by ABC7 News Bay Area below.