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Reintroduction and postrelease movements of red-cockaded woodpecker groups in eastern TexasAuthor(s): N. Ross Carrie; Richard N. Conner; D. Craig Rudolph; Dawn K. Carrie
Source: Journal of Wildlife Management. 63(3): 824-832.
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
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DescriptionThe effects of demographic isolation may be particularly severe in small, isolated populations of the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis).Augmentation of single adult woodpeckers with subadult birds of the oppisite sex allows managers to stabilize small, isolated populations but does not provide a means to significantly increase populations.The reintroduction of pairs of subadult red-cockaded woodpeckers into unoccupied habitat provides a technique to bolster small populations.The authors report the results of such efforts to increase a small, isolated red-cockaded woodpecker population in eastern Texas and describe postrelease movements of translocated red-cockaded woodpeckers.Seventeen red-cockaded woodpeckers (9 M, 8 F) were translocated to the Sabine National Forest in eastern Texas between December 1994 and March 1995.Prior to translocation, this forest contained 13 groups of red-cockaded woodpeckers.Five pairs, consisting of a subadult male and female, were released to attempt to establish new breeding pairs.Seven additional subadult woodpeckers were translocated to provide mates to solitary individuals.Nine previously unoccupied sites were occupied. Of the 17 woodpeckers translocated, 12 (71 percent; 6 M, 6 F) were established in territories following the 1995 and 1996 breeding seasons.The remaining 5 woodpeckers were unaccounted for.Of the 12 woodpeckers resighted, 3 (18 percent) established territories at their release sites.Woodpeckers that dispersed from their release site were relocated in sites an average of 2.8 km (range = 0.5-9.6 km) away. One (20 percent) of the five pairs released remained together into the 1995 breeding season.Eight (89 percent) of the 9 new pairs found during 1995 and 1996 included at least one translocated red-cockaded woodpecker and bred during 1995 and 1996.Results demonstrate that the direct reintroduction of multiple pairs is an effective technique for reestablishing breeding units in formerly vacant habitats.Results also suggest that the reintroduction of pairs in a spatial array dense enough to allow social contact between adjacent pairs and with preexisting clusters substantially increase the formation of new pairs.
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CitationCarrie, N. Ross; Conner, Richard N.; Rudolph, D. Craig; Carrie, Dawn K. 1999. Reintroduction and postrelease movements of red-cockaded woodpecker groups in eastern Texas. Journal of Wildlife Management. 63(3): 824-832.
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