Red-cockaded Woodpecker (RCW) Cavity Construction

Construction of artificial cavities has helped to brighten the future for the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker. Most woodpecker populations faced an uncertain future before the development of this management tool, but recent trends are upward across much of the species’ range thanks to the helping hand managers can now provide.

Mike Keys is a true artisan when it comes to the arduous process of excavating artificial cavities. His attention to detail has been honed by installing more than1000 artificial cavities over the years, and in this video Mike provides key pointers needed for safe and efficient cavity excavation. Tall Timbers volunteer Tara Tanaka shot the video on a windy day in October. We apologize for the noise, but we hope the mystery of cavity construction becomes a bit less mysterious as a result of the efforts of Mike and Tara. If you would like to see the impressive photos and videos the Tara has crafted when she has more time, please visit her web sites:

A big “THANK YOU” also goes out to Mr. Gene Phipps for the loan of his gas-powered lift.

Construction of an artificial insert

Construction of an advanced start

Suggested citation

Keys, M. and T. Tanaka. 2011 (on line). Notes on the construction on artificial cavities for the Red-cockaded Woodpecker. Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy.