Science Diary: Red-cockaded – Overview

music; ambience Red-cockaded Woodpecker

In Georgia’s Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Long Leaf Pine trees provide the perfect home for endangered Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. Welcome to Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside. Wildlife biologist Dean Easton.

DE: “The Red-cockaded woodpecker is an endangered species throughout its range, which is the southeastern United States. Populations have been on the increase, and that’s mainly due to management that government agencies, state agencies, and even private groups have been doing for this species for the last 20 or so years. In areas like this, where the pines are large enough, they can create cavities and usually use them for five, seven, ten years. We have 38 active clusters, or actually family groups of woodpeckers here dispersed on both the perimeter of the refuge and also out on the wilderness islands. “

And while 38 pairs may not seem like much, there’s a reason for the low numbers.

DE: “The problem that we have here at Okefenokee is that the habitat that we have is fragmented, this area here that we’re in now, it’s about 11- or 1200 acres. And between here and the next suitable block of habitat, may be several miles here. What this species likes ideally is to have a contiguous block of habitat of 50,000 acres, so that the birds, when they do disperse, they can find others of their species, and a mate, and settle down. With fragmentation of the habitat, it’s almost a barrier in some cases to dispersal of this species.”

Please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation.

Science Diary: Red-cockaded - Overview

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is a 1200-acre oasis for small groups of Red-cockaded woodpeckers.
Air Date:06/16/2011
Scientist:
Transcript:

music; ambience Red-cockaded Woodpecker

In Georgia's Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Long Leaf Pine trees provide the perfect home for endangered Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. Welcome to Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside. Wildlife biologist Dean Easton.

DE: "The Red-cockaded woodpecker is an endangered species throughout its range, which is the southeastern United States. Populations have been on the increase, and that's mainly due to management that government agencies, state agencies, and even private groups have been doing for this species for the last 20 or so years. In areas like this, where the pines are large enough, they can create cavities and usually use them for five, seven, ten years. We have 38 active clusters, or actually family groups of woodpeckers here dispersed on both the perimeter of the refuge and also out on the wilderness islands. "

And while 38 pairs may not seem like much, there's a reason for the low numbers.

DE: "The problem that we have here at Okefenokee is that the habitat that we have is fragmented, this area here that we're in now, it's about 11- or 1200 acres. And between here and the next suitable block of habitat, may be several miles here. What this species likes ideally is to have a contiguous block of habitat of 50,000 acres, so that the birds, when they do disperse, they can find others of their species, and a mate, and settle down. With fragmentation of the habitat, it's almost a barrier in some cases to dispersal of this species."

Please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation.