Last September Tara Tanaka walked by her dining room window and saw a Pileated Woodpecker in a dead snag, about 75' from her house. The tree was diseased and in danger of hitting the house, so a couple of years ago she had it topped, but left it standing - just for the woodpeckers. She cracked the window and slipped the scope out the window, and videoed him creating what appeared to be a new cavity, but he ended up making just a shallow depression.
Six months passed, and Tara saw him only occasionally. In March she looked out and he was back working very seriously on his well-aged starter cavity. He worked for a couple of days, excavating an enormous amount of wood. During the time he was still excavating the cavity, she looked out one morning to see him at the cavity, but his crest was up and he clearly didn't want to go in. He hopped around the tree, came back, looked in, raised his crest, and left. Later in the day Tara say him working on the cavity again. She thought there might have been a rat snake in the cavity, so that afternoon, after he'd "knocked off" for the day, she went out and was about to wrap the base of the tree with some nylon mesh she uses to protect nests from snakes, and saw that there was a fresh, broken egg on the ground at the base of the tree. Apparently a Wood Duck was in the cavity laying an egg, even before the Woodpecker had finished it. Tara says the most important tree in the woods is a snag, and the most important bird the woodpecker. What a great video!