Federally-listed as endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers need mature (30 years or older) pine trees for nesting and feeding. The birds prefer older pines because the soft wood is easy to penetrate and because the holes they hammer out cause the trees' resin to flow - resin that deters crawling predators. When the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development made plans to widen U.S. 165 South in Rapides Parish, biologists carved "look-alike" cavities for red cockadeds in the vicinity. They drilled entrance-holes in 38 blocks of wood - each entrance the same size as the entrance to a natural cavity. Then they installed the blocks on trees in the project area and in nearby old-growth pine forests, scraping off a little bark to match the red color of the natural cavities and making a few small cuts to resemble resin wells. The strategy worked. The birds had no trouble finding the ready-made lodgings and settling in.
--Apr 25, 2003
|Photo by Jan Grenfell|
|A worker cuts an opening for the artificial cavity|