Red-cockaded Woodpeckers require large, old pines in which to nest. They breed cooperatively, and a family of these birds may have several nests in one area. They may also forage together, chattering and flying from tree to tree. The destruction of their preferred habitat – mature southern longleaf pine forests – has landed the Red-cockaded Woodpecker on the Endangered Species List. If we want these woodpeckers in our world, then we need to protect these large old pines.
Sunrise Vigil in the Pines
Written by Bob Sundstrom
This is BirdNote.
[Walking along a trail]
We’re walking at dawn into a wooded preserve in East Texas. The Carolina Wren we’re hearing sings as the trail leads into an open grove of tall pines [Song of Carolina Wren]. But we’ve come early to keep an appointment with another bird, an endangered bird: the Red-cockaded Woodpecker.
These woodpeckers require large, old pines in which to nest. Now at sunrise, we’ve got our attention trained on the trunk of a magnificent loblolly pine at least 90 years old.
Some forty feet up, we spy a round hole about three inches across. A bird’s face appears. Yes! It’s a Red-cockaded Woodpecker, peering from the hole, just awakening.
At last, the woodpecker pops out and clings to the bark of the tree. [Red-cockaded Woodpecker calls] Finely patterned in black and white, it stands eight inches tall. Looking from side to side, it scans its surroundings. We look around, too, and, presto! There are five Red-cockaded Woodpeckers in view, all emerging from nearby trees, a family group.
[Red-cockaded Woodpecker calls and “chatter”]
The woodpeckers chatter, fly from tree to tree, and then – within a few minutes – disperse widely into the woods. They’ll be gone from view until dusk.
Walking from the forest, we’re reminded that if we want these woodpeckers in our world, then we need to protect large old pines. [Red-cockaded Woodpecker pecking]
Today’s show brought to you by The Bobolink Foundation. For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein.
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Song of the Carolina Wren 128907 recorded by G. Vyn; calls of Red-cockaded Woodpecker 105469 and chatter of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers 105749 recorded by G.A. Keller.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2012 Tune In to Nature.org July 2012 Narrator: Michael Stein
ID# RCWO-01-2012-07-17 RCWO-01