Red Cockaded Woodpecker

 

The  Red- Cockaded Woodpecker is indigenous to the southeastern US pine forests. It is currently on the endangered species list and is being intensively managed on federal, state, and government lands . The uniqueness of this species is that it excavates it cavities in a living pine tree. Because of the length of time it takes to prepare these cavities biologists place artificial inserts to give the birds both a place to roost and nest.  The perforated metal on the front of the insert protects the insert from being destroyed by Pileated Woodpeckers. 

A question often asked of me as both a biologist and a birder is where are the cockades? They are almost impossible to see and are located on the side of the heads on male birds. In the image below from a bird being held by a biologist the red feathers are visible.