A Rare Bird

In South Carolina we have a few colonies of a very rare bird. The Red­ cockaded wood pecker is a bird on the endangered list and I have heard some conservationist say it may be the next bird to go extinct. But here in SC we are making strides in re-establishing larger numbers of the

Red-cockaded woodpecker. The birds can be found in the southern coastal states. The numbers are increasing across the entire range thanks to management efforts. In 1993 only approximately 4700 clusters were found throughout the US. In 2006 that number had increased to 6100.

The bird is medium sized and has white cheeks. It is basically black with white spots on the wings and some white. The only color is a tiny red feather or two above the eyes of the male. However even that is hard to see. Red-cockadeds’ are specialized nesters. They nest in old pines generally a hundred years old or older. The tree must suffer from red heart disease so as to soften the heart of the tree for easier excavation. Small holes are drilled around the entrance. Sap weeps from the holes to create a very sticky barrier to snakes, squirrels etc.. They nest in tight communities and cooperate in excavating the nest cavity. More than one family will work on drilling the cavity and it may take up to six years before it is used. Again, more than one family will care for raising the nestlings.

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Nature is grand and we would love to help you enjoy it. We are the Backyard Bird Feeding Specialist and can help you attract the birds you want to your backyard. Give us a call at Wild Birds Unlimited on Forest Drive. 782-5700