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1 September 2011 Using Adult Groups of Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers for Translocations and Population Augmentation
Erin M. Herbez, Michael J. Chamberlain, Douglas R. Wood
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The red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis; hereafter RCW) was listed as federally endangered in 1973 after a population decline due primarily to habitat loss. Habitat fragmentation produces isolated populations of RCWs and managers often translocate subadult birds to augment existing populations. Although several studies have examined success of translocating subadults, detailed studies examining translocations of adults have been limited. We evaluated the feasibility and success of using adult RCWs for translocation and augmentation of existing populations in Morehouse Parish, Louisiana, 2006–2009. We translocated 41 primarily adult RCWs, consisting of 12 potential breeding groups (PBGs) and 5 single bird groups to suitable habitat at the Morehouse Parish Conservation Area (MPCA). Fifty-nine percent of translocated RCWs remained on the MPCA and 45% became breeders. Thirty-four percent of translocated RCWs were breeding after being on the MPCA for 2 breeding seasons, suggesting that translocated adult RCWs can augment the breeding population within 2 years of translocation. Fledglings contributed by translocated RCWs ranged from 11% to 30% of the total fledglings on the MPCA. There were 5 PBGs established on the MPCA from translocated RCWs and 20% of the fledglings had at least 1 translocated parent. Success rates for translocation of adults in our study were lower than previous studies where subadults were used. However, previous research suggested that demographically isolated groups have a high risk of abandonment and extirpation, and thus do not contribute to the recovery of the species. The success rates we observed suggest that translocating adult groups may be a useful tool in RCW recovery, and hence should be considered by managers when demographically isolated groups occur.

© 2011 The Wildlife Society.
Erin M. Herbez, Michael J. Chamberlain, and Douglas R. Wood "Using Adult Groups of Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers for Translocations and Population Augmentation," Journal of Wildlife Management 75(7), 1568-1573, (1 September 2011).
Received: 23 July 2010; Accepted: 21 February 2011; Published: 1 September 2011

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Picoides borealis
Red-cockaded Woodpecker
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