Investigation of red-cockaded woodpeckers in Virginia: 2010 report
During the calendar year of 2010, 57 Red-cockaded Woodpeckers were identified within the Nature Conservancy’s Piney Grove Preserve. This included 37 birds that were hatched at Piney Grove from previous years, 18 fledglings produced during the 2010 breeding season, and 2 birds translocated to Piney Grove in previous years. A collaborative effort of habitat management, population monitoring and management, and translocation of birds into the population have been ongoing at the Preserve since 2000 has had dramatically positive results. Since 2001, the total population and the number of potential breeding clusters have more than doubled. Thirty-five adult birds were believed to be present within the Piney Grove Preserve going into the breeding season of 2010. This is the highest spring total since monitoring began at the Preserve. Seven successful breeding attempts were documented during the 2010 season at C-1, C-3, C-5, C-7, C-8, C10 and C13. Breeding productivity for the 2010 season netted a combined total of 18 chicks that survived to fledge. Forty-two birds were detected during the winter survey. This includes 12 of the 18 birds that fledged in 2010. In the winter assessment, birds were roosting in 11 different cluster areas including C-1, C-3, C-4, C-5, C-6, C-7, C-8, C-9 C-10, C-13, and C-15. As in years past, the single bird roosting in C-4 was part of the C-3 clan. A single bird from C-9 joined the foraging group from C-7, and two birds roosting in C-15 joined the C-8 group. In 2010, Piney Grove contained 159 cavities in live trees including 42 start cavities, 52 completed cavities, and 65 artificial inserts. Sixteen new cavities or new cavity starts were added to the number of known cavities this past year. Six trees died between 2009 and 2010 resulting in a loss of nine cavities or cavity starts. Six new trees were found with newly completed natural cavities and four cavity starts. Six artificial inserts were installed in new trees creating two new recruitment clusters, C17 and C18. One unrecorded relic cavity and three starts were discovered in previously tagged cavity trees. There were 37 instances of cavity competitors or nest material in RCW cavities during the April, May and June 2010. Southern flying squirrels accounted for 11 of the 37 occurrences. A total of 19 individual flying squirrels were removed on 11 occasions from eight of the 117 available cavity trees. Other species found include white-breasted nuthatch, tufted titmouse, great-crested flycatcher, unidentified snake species, and unidentified bee and wasp species.