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Two different nest sites of the endangered RCW. The one with the metal exclusion plate is inactive, but the other two photos show an active nest. (See notes below...) Nest holes are about 25-30 feet up, and in living, old-growth Longleaf Pines of 50yrs or more.
Longleaf Sandhill, Ocala National Forest.
Yes I saw three RCW's this day! I was very quietly freaking out, as it was my first time! An active nest will be carved out of a living old Longleaf pine, and then a series of shallow holes drilled out around the perimeter of the hole. This causes sticky pine sap to dribble down the trunk. If the trunk is sticky, white , and shiny , it's an active nest. The metal exclusion plate is often put around a hole to discourage Pileated w'peckers, fox squirrels and flying squirrels from evicting a nesting RCW pair. It keeps them from enlarging the hole. This particular nest is not active.