I’m a pretty devout environmentalist, if there can be such a thing. I’m always out taking pictures of birds and insects; it’s one of my favorite hobbies. There’s nothing like fresh air, a bit of hiking, and some awesome animals to help me relax after a busy week working.
Since I love the environment, I’m pretty big into the three Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle. So I have really enjoyed watching the transformation of this pine tree cavity I’m about to show you.
In February of 2018, a fellow photographer found a pileated woodpecker nest in a preserve that’s not far from my home. He was kind enough to show me exactly where it was. You may recognize these birds as the inspiration for the cartoon Woody Woodpecker. They are large and loud.
I visited off and on for a couple of months, then one day in April I finally saw the nestlings.
By this time they were close to being ready to leave the nest, and sure enough, they were gone soon after. Many species of birds don’t continue to use the nest once their babies can fly.
I kept visiting, though, because it’s an awesome spot to find all kinds of birds (bobwhite quail, scrub jays, and lots of woodpecker species). So imagine my surprise when I checked the next in mid-July and discovered that it had been commandeered by a bunch of honeybees! I’d guess there are at least 100 honeybees visible in the photo below, and who knows how many inside.
Then two months later, in late September, check out what it looks like now!
That’s a beautiful honeycomb! There are still lots of bees around, indicating an active nest. What an awesome way for nature to reuse this nest cavity!
I also did some research online and found that pileated woodpeckers don’t tend to reuse the same nest from year to year, so hopefully these parents won’t be upset next year when they find they’ve been evicted.
Also: I half expect I’ll show up in a few weeks and find a brown bear going after the honey. (That’s a joke. But it does seem like the next step!)