Sunday, November 9, 2008

Red-cockaded Woodpecker Translocation

This is my first YouTube upload, so it's far from slick. I also need a better camera (hint to Santa), but I'll try to do more of these. This was last week at Ft. Benning GA and Sehoy Plantation AL. Part of a USFWS Partners for Wildlife grant that is funding the translocation of red-cockaded woodpeckers from public lands (so far Fts. Benning and Stewart) to Sehoy and Enon plantations. This is the only privately owned land in Alabama to ever receive red-cockaded woodpeckers, and it is one of only two known populations on private lands in Alabama. We moved 8 birds last year (with much success) and 8 again this past week. Young birds, a male and a female, are captured from different places at the donor site (they are "strangers") when roosting at dusk, and miles away and well after dark, each is placed in an artificial cavity that was previously installed at a "recruitment cluster" consiting of four cavity trees near each other. A screen is tacked over the entrance to make sure they don't exit early and the birds are released the following morning by pulling a string. With luck, they stick together and form a breeding pair.

One name I failed to include in the end credits is Joe McGlincy, who drove 4 birds from Ft Stewart several hours to our rendezvous in Eufaula, AL. Sorry, Joe; I'll re-do it when I can! Also thanks to Geoff Hill and Eric Soehren for being string pullers. Many others assisted in installation of cavities in September: Eric Spadgenske, Randy Roach, Bob Hastings, Mark Sasser, Jim McHugh, Beau Dudley, Eric Soehren, and probably others I'm forgetting.

EDIT: Upon re-reading, not enough credit is given here to Eric Spadgenske of USFWS without whom none of this would happen. Eric is 90% of the brains and expertise of the Alabama portion of this translocation project; I'm just happy to be involved.


esoehren said...

The You Tube clip turned out great! Nice coverage Mark...

Margaret said...

I really enjoyed this video Mark. The dawn shot of the bird being released was great!

Kristina Witter said...

That was a wonderful video portrayal of events! I feel a little famous! It was wonderful having you at Ft. Benning and I'm so pleased that everything went well! We'll look forward to giving you more birds in the future. Good Luck with your population growth!

Kristina Witter
Wildlife Biologist
Ft. Benning

Anne-Marie said...

Thanks so much for coming to talk about this at the SCB meeting last night, your presentation was fascinating and it was great to get to see you!