Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The military helps Red-cockaded Woodpeckers

Having just visited Florida and missed seeing Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, a story about Camp Blanding caught my attention.

Located near Jacksonville, Camp Blanding
has become an island in a sea of suburbanization. This isolated island of viable natural resources habitat supports a diverse population of flora and fauna. CBTS is within the historical range of approximately 100 critically-listed plant and animal species, all requiring various management techniques and procedures. Today, approximately 75% of these species have been identified as occurring on the installation.
(according to this source)

At the military facility, wildlife biologists from the Florida Department of Military Affairs have worked with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to increase the number of RCWO on the 73,000 acres.

Earlier this month, wildlife biologist Ulgonda Kirkpatrick drove overnight from Fort Stewart, Ga., with two woodpeckers and placed the male and the female in manmade cavities in separate long-leaf pine trees. After she removed screens from the cavities' entrances in the morning, the birds flew in different directions and began chirping. They soon flew around each other, and Kirkpatrick recorded their behavior in a notebook.

USFWS mandated that Camp Blanding host 25 active clusters of woodpeckers. The facility began receiving birds in 1999, and the recent delivery might be the last one because the species has reproduced sufficiently. In fact, Camp Blanding sent a female to a state park in southeast Florida earlier this year.

And that's good news.

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