The documented natural communities of the refuge provide habitat for 278 species of birds throughout the year (Bird List). A total of 116 are considered to be common or abundant during some seasons. Avian species that are listed under the provisions of the Endangered Species Act and documented on the refuge include the red-cockaded woodpecker, wood stork, bald eagle, and piping plover. State-listed species include the least tern, Peregrine falcon and Southeastern American kestrel. Even though it is situated between the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways, the refuge provides important breeding, wintering, and stopover habitat for neotropical migratory birds (e.g., songbirds, raptors, and shorebirds).
[SMNWR Bird List]
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The refuge is actively involved in the recovery of the red-cockaded woodpecker. The Service’s current Red-cockaded Woodpecker Recovery Plan (2003) has a panhandle population goal of 1,000 potential breeding groups, with a refuge goal of 71 active clusters. Active refuge management of the red-cockaded woodpecker population and habitat since 1980 has not only prevented extirpation, but also fostered population growth.