Woodpecker biologist Daniel Saenz now has the data to show that frustrated scientists aren't imagining things. Pileated woodpeckers really are attracted to the homes of red-cockaded woodpeckers.
Saenz of the Wildlife Habitat Laboratory in Nacogdoches, Texas, frets over the cavities that the small, endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers peck out of healthy pine trees. The 8-inch-long birds routinely spend 6 years excavating before a cavity reaches the right size. A finished cavity houses a single bird.
The pileated woodpeckers, like most of the clan, usually whack their cavities out of dead trees in which a fungus has already softened the wood.
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.