Red-cockaded Woodpecker


Scientific Name: Picoides borealis

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"The primary reasons for the decline of the RCW include loss of habitat and fire suppression. This reduction of suitable habitat has caused the number of RCWs to decline by approximately 99% since the time of European settlement. At the time of its listing as an endangered species, the RCW had declined to fewer than 10,000individuals in widely scattered, isolated and declining populations. Today there remains about 5,600 groups or 14,000 birds. Most populations were stabilized during the 1990’s due to management based on new understanding of RCW biology and population dynamics. However, there are still populations in decline and small populations throughout the species’ current range are still in danger of extirpation."
"Several management techniques, introduced in the early 1990’s, have been responsible for increasing RCW populations. One of the most successful has been the installation of artificial cavities. Cavities are critical to RCWs nesting and roosting and their presence for each group member increases the chances for survival and persistence of the group. There are two main techniques for providing artificial cavities for RCWs. These include:
  1. Drilling holes that mimic natural cavities and .

  2. Installing boxes called ‘inserts’ within a suitable tree.

These techniques were put to the test after Hurricane Hugo destroyed 87% of the active cavity trees on the Francis Marion National Forest in 1989, the second largest RCW population at the time. Installation of artificial cavities, both inserts and drilled, helped to stabilize the population after this devastating loss. Translocation of juvenile RCWs is another management technique used in RCW recovery. Translocation involves moving one or more juvenile RCWs between or within populations to achieve management goals."
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