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Photo © Abbott Nature Photography

Red-cockaded woodpecker

If you’ve identified this bird in your backyard or coming to your feeder, you’ve likely made an error in its identification. This endangered species is not expected in a Texas backyard. Instead, it’s found in open, mature stands of pine far from urban settings. The 2017 estimate for this species in our state was around 576 pairs (or family groups); 90 percent of those occurred on national forest lands owned and managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Interestingly, prescribed fire is used to manage this woodpecker’s forest stands, which are also the last strongholds for our state’s Bachman’s sparrows, northern bobwhites (in the entire Pineywoods) and any nearby nesting eastern wild turkeys (they bring their poults to feed during late spring and summer months). If there are any surviving Louisiana pine snakes in Texas, they might be hiding out in a forest managed for red-cockaded woodpeckers.


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