A California pest exterminator was in for a surprise when he checked inside the wall of a client's home recently — 700 pounds (317kgs) of acorns rolled out.
Nick Castro, the owner of Nick's Extreme Pest Control in Santa Rosa, took to the company’s Facebook page to post photos of the job after a client called him to complain about mealworms they had discovered in the bedroom. Little did Castro expect that the mealworms were feasting on a giant secret stash of acorns.
“Came across this on a job. The bird was a bit of a hoarder. Filled up about 8 garbage bags full of acorns weighing about 700 lbs. Unreal never came across something like this,” wrote Castro.
A video, shared on YouTube, shows the exterminator scooping out thousands of acorns from a hole at the bottom of the wall. Soon, the nuts rolled out and covered the floor of the room.
According to a story on npr.org, an American nonprofit media website, Castro told local media that he was inspecting a customer's home for mealworms when he found the acorn cache, which he estimates was towering 20-25 feet high in the home's chimney.
Why acorns? The nuts were collected by a species of woodpeckers called Acorn Woodpeckers.
Castro suggested that the pair had been building the stockpile for at least two to three years, the report added. Since the nuts kept falling into a wall cavity, the birds couldn’t access them. So, they kept filling the gap with more and more acorns.
According to allaboutbirds.org, an ornithology website: “Acorn Woodpeckers are very unusual woodpeckers that live in large groups, hoard acorns, and breed cooperatively. Group members gather acorns by the hundreds and wedge them into holes they’ve made in a tree trunk or telephone pole. Acorn Woodpeckers also spend considerable time catching insects on the wing.”
The acorns stored by the birds are used to sustain them through the fall and winter, and to help them feed their babies in the springtime.
While some netizens are saying the birds have more "savings" than them, others are hoping the acorns were returned to the “hardworking” pair.
In a report on the California-based news website The Press Democrat, Castro, sadly, said he had to throw out the acorns he found behind the wall because they had been contaminated by fiberglass insulation and rat droppings. But, the birds probably had more stored up in nearby trees.