Red-cockaded woodpecker

W H RCW Hdr B Pic 512W

Over the years, the RCW has declined throughout its range. Its decline has been traced to the loss of older age, open pine forest in the south, a fire dependent system in which the RCW is adapted. Because fire is a historic disturbance, the refuge uses prescribed fire on a 2-3 year rotation to manage RCW habitat. At Piedmont NWR, RCWs utilize mature loblolly pine stands. The refuge is located just north of the historic range of longleaf pine. RCWs are very unique because of their social structure. Typically, a pair of birds will mate, lay eggs, and incubate the nest. However, there is usually at least one other juvenile male bird present in the family group to assist in the raising of the young. The best time to view the RCWs is in early May, when they are nesting.

Check out our Red Cockaded Woodpecker Nest Monitoring Page.

The population on Piedmont NWR has grown from 28-30 family groups in the early 1990’s to 63 active groups in 2018.

Link for USFWS RCW Recovery:  Learn more here