About the size of the common cardinal, the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker is approximately 7 inches long. Its back is barred with black and white horizontal stripes. Their most distinguishing feature is a black cap and nape that encircle large white cheek patches.
Active cavity trees (usually dead or dying trees that wildlife use for nesting, protection, and other purposes) can be seen while driving through the refuge, and are easily distinguished by their painted white bands. The sap running can be visible from far distances. The best time to see them at the refuge is during the nesting season from late April to mid-June, but they may be seen throughout the Refuge year-round while out foraging or in clusters at sunrise or sunset.
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