Status Of The Red-Cockaded Woodpecker In Oklahoma

The red·cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis) presumably was fairly com· mon historically in the pinelands of southeastern Oklahoma. The species requires oldgrowth timber for nests and roosts, and in the past century their populations have declined due to logging operations and clearing of forestland. Remnant populations of red· cockadeds were located in the McCurtain County Wilderness Area, and on Weyerhaeuser Company lands in Pushmataha County and may still occur in Beavers Bend State Park, McCurtain County. Between 145 and 165 birds occupy 48 to 53 colonies, with 84 to 90% of the population occurring in the McCurtain County Wilderness Area. The population inhabiting the Wilderness Area is the only one in the state whose habitat and population density appear secure. Continued survival of the species in Oklahoma depends upon maintenance of old-growth pine in the Wilderness area.

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