The Virginia population of red-cockaded woodpeckers is the northernmost throughout the species range and has been in eminent danger of extinction for more than 30 years. The Piney Grove Preserve represents a nucleus for recovery in the state and the focus of a multi-organizational partnership designed to increase the population to a sustainable level. The partnership has executed a program of aggressive habitat management, cavity-tree management and woodpecker population monitoring and management that has resulted in a quadrupling of the breeding population since the early 2000s. During the 2019 breeding season, Piney Grove Preserve supported 15 potential breeding groups (including one in the Big Woods) that produced 27 fledglings. All groups made breeding attempts, including the cluster in Big Woods for the first time, though three clusters (10, 17, and 18) failed to produce fledglings. The population as a whole had a reproductive rate of 1.8±0.35 (mean±SE) young/breeding group. The 13 groups that made breeding attempts had a success rate of 80% (12 of 15). Fledging rate for the 12 productive pairs was 2.3±0.32. Of the 61 eggs followed in 2019, 40 (65.6%) hatched, 21 (55.7%) survived to banding age, and 28 (45.9%) fledged. Birds that fledged included 18 females, 9 males, and 1 of unknown sex. Fifteen of these birds were retained and detected during the winter count and two (both male) were translocated to Great Dismal Swamp, NWR on 17 October. During the calendar year of 2019, 101 individual red-cockaded woodpeckers were identified within Piney Grove preserve including 72 birds that were hatched at Piney Grove during previous years and 29 nestlings that fledged during the 2019 breeding season. Forty-one birds (41%) were in their fourth year or more and ten birds (10%) were at least in their tenth year. One bird was fifteen years old (sixteenth calendar year). Moving into the breeding season there were 65 birds were identified within Piney Grove Preserve distributed among 15 clusters. This ties 2017 as the highest number of adults that Piney Grove has ever carried into the breeding season. The number of birds per cluster varied from two to seven with a mean of 4.33±0.45 (mean+SE). Seventy-seven birds were detected during the 2018 winter survey. This represents a 5% increase over the winter of 2018 and a 13% increase over the winter of 2017. Birds present include 15 of the 29 birds fledged in 2017 and 62 adult birds hatched in previous years. Group size in winter ranged from two to nine birds and averaged 5.13 ± 0.56 (mean±SE) birds per group.
Watts, B. D.; Hines, C.; Duval, L.; and Paxton, B. J., "Investigation of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers in Virginia: Year 2019 Report" (2020). CCB Technical Reports. 675.