I went out every morning for two weeks and shot video of these two little boys, from before any of the red in their malar stripes was visible. The day before I shot this video I got to watch the larger of the two say his first big-boy Pileated words, and this was my favorite moment of the two weeks - watching the smaller one call his first real call, after hearing and then intently studying his larger brother's call. I managed to record each of them leaving the cavity the next morning, and the smaller one left about 45 minutes before the larger one! I later realized that they had to be able to communicate with the parents before they fledged, and they timed it perfectly.
The parents had nested in another dead tree the year before, and right around the time that the eggs were due to hatch, the tree broke off half-way up, ironically right at the spot where he had built his cavity the year before, when he didn't have a mate. This year they built their cavity about 50' high in a slash pine that my husband had girdled (cut the bark off all the way around) at least 3-4 years ago, just so that it would die and could be used by woodpeckers. When I would review the video that I'd shot on windy mornings I could see the tree moving, and held my breath with every gust for weeks, but this year their tree stood strong while they used the cavity. I saw them for a couple of days after they fledged, but the parents have taken them somewhere else, hopefully just for now. I hope they come back and make their nests in our yard in years to come. A hen Wood Duck would come every morning and look in the cavity to see if it was empty yet, and I think she has been laying eggs in it since they left. Those babies are going to have quite a jump when they hatch!