Prefab Homes for Endangered Woodpeckers

Yesterday I shared some of the work that we were doing in Big Cypress protecting the RCW’s (Red Cockaded Woodpecker) which is an endangered species. The other thing that is really cool about the RCW’s that many people don’t know is that they build these awesome nests in live pine trees most of the time. However, in an effort to help the RCW population, state and government agencies have combined forces for the installation of prebuilt and pre-manufactured nests! A pre-built nest is typically just a little bit smaller than the average-sizeed mailbox, and gets installed via insertion into the trunk of a live pine. I know what you’re thinking, but doesn’t carving out a tree and putting a box in it kill the tree and defeat the purpose? Well, actually the pines down here in Big Cypress adapt and grow around the box as if to lock it into the tree over time. Pretty awesome, right?!

The cherry on top of the day for me might have to be just the time we spent traveling around Big Cypress by swamp buggy or on foot. Upon arrival to Big Cypress National Preserve, Oasis Visitor Center, we do some stretches, a safety talk and then it’s into the buggies. We then travel a few miles back to the general area of the tree site, then by foot to spot the designated trees and start our work. Interestingly, today I found myself enjoying the hikes out into the thick, but dry, swamp. You see all sorts of critters, you get to chat with a group of awesome new friends from all around the country, and just spend some quality time in the great outdoors. What more could you ask for? (Ice cream maybe…?)

As I sit here mid-week, I am both tired (the good, hardworking kind of tired) and excited. The sun really takes it out of you on these long days, but I’m excited to experience what is around the next tree, the next corner, or just the next ten minutes. Whatever it is, I’m sure it’s going to be great!

More to come!