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SCV Outdoor Report: Holes

By Wendy Langhans


Perhaps because it was so short and sweet, I still remember the definition of marketing given by my business school professor in a lecture hall many years ago.   He said that the essence of marketing is to “find a hole and fill it”.


I’m reminded of that lecture every time I come across a granary tree.  They’re a funny looking structure, a snag (dead tree branch) or sometimes a post honeycombed with neatly drilled holes, each hole about an inch wide and stuffed with an acorn.


Granary trees are created by acorn woodpeckers and function as a communal place to store food, much like we use our cupboards and pantries.  These woodpeckers carefully maintain their granary, cleaning out the holes in the spring, drilling new holes and stuffing them with acorns in the late summer and fall, so they will have food to eat during the winter.


Acorn woodpeckers live together in family groups of up to a dozen birds and young woodpeckers will often remain with their parents for several years to help raise the next batch of young.  These family groups are very territorial and will defend their “tree” from intruders, including squirrels, and jays and other woodpeckers.


It reminds me of how companies and organizations defend their particular “brand” against each other.  Mac versus PC.   Verizon versus Sprint.  Green Bay versus Dallas.  I think I may have watched too much TV over the Thanksgiving weekend.  It’s time to go outside for a walk and clear my head.


Upcoming Outdoor Events:


Saturday, Dec 1.  Placerita Canyon
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM.  Nature Walk.  An easy walk. 
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM.  Animal Presentation.
For directions, click here.


Saturday, Dec. 8

8:30 AM – noon.  Come help trail volunteers repair and maintain our local trails.

Sponsored by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.
Contact Steve Ioerger 661-291-1565 or for location.


Saturday, Dec. 8

 8:30 AM – noon.  Whitney Canyon.  An easy to moderate hike – 5 miles roundtrip.  Bring lunch and plenty of water.

For map and directions, click here
For more information contact Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel at

Sponsored by the Community Hiking Club.


Wednesday, Dec. 26

9:00-11:00 AM. Towsley Canyon.  Walk off that pumpkin pie – an easy morning stroll through the canyon.  Rain cancels.


To get maps and directions, click here.

Sponsored by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

Saturday, Dec. 29, Santa Clarita Valley.
Save the date for the Audubon Society’s 108th Annual Christmas Bird Count

More information to follow next week.

You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on "The Hike Report", brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM1220) and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

For the complete MRCA hike and activity schedule and for trail maps, go to


To sign up for Daily News Alerts, click here.



 Acorn woodpeckers converted this signpost at Walker Ranch into an acorn granary. 

Photo courtesy W.B. Langhans.


Here’s a close-up view of an Acorn Woodpecker. 

Photo courtesy Lilian Darling Holt

SCV Outdoor Report: Holes

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