Birds That Fill Me with a Vague but Persistent Dread: The Acorn Woodpecker

A recurring feature in which we learn from and are unsettled by birds of all kinds

Photo: John Cancalosi/Getty

Welcome to Birds That Fill Me with a Vague but Persistent Dread, a new daily column here at PEOPLE Pets.

Today’s Bird That Fills Me with a Vague but Persistent Dread is the Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus), pictured above in Costa Rica.

Why the expression of hysterical, on-edge, hand-in-the-cookie jar guilt, Melanerpes formicivorus? What have you done?

Oh, I see. You look like that because according to All About Birds, Acorn Woodpeckers spend their days “[storing] thousands of acorns each year by jamming them into specially made holes in trees.” And I bet you do that with your terrifying sickle claws, don’t you? Just seizing nuts all day and cramming them into holes with your evil foot-hooks, compulsively, over and over again?

There’s a name for that condition, and it’s called hoarding. We’ve watched shows about it.

Get some help, Melanerpes formicivorus. Your family – composed of large groups that breed cooperatively and raise their young as a unit, like some kind God-fearing-family-structure-mocking polygamists – is worried about you.

This has been Birds That Fill Me with a Vague but Persistent Dread. Thank you.

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