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Arrival of the RCWs

"RCW" is nickname that is often used to abbreviate the name of the Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge most popular denizen, the red-cockaded woodpecker.

A “peeper” allows Allyn Askins, Refuge Director and other staff to examine the development of red-cockaded woodpecker chicks born into longleaf pine cavities. The sex of chicks that have fledged, or developed adult feathers, can be determined by coloration on their heads. Males are characterized by a red patch of feathers on the head, females by black feathers.

In this video, Allyn Askins demonstrates how new generations of red-cockaded woodpeckers are anxiously awaited and carefully monitored on the refuge. Allyn also explains how birds on protected lands such as the refuge have a healthier, more robust environment in which to develop. Genetically isolated populations of birds on smaller, privately owned tracts of land are more vulnerable to environmental stressors such as clearing and development.

Visit: Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge

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