- Associated Press - Monday, December 15, 2014

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) - Another 1,200 acres is being set aside in southeastern North Carolina to provide habitat for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.

The Fayetteville Observer reports (https://bit.ly/1yS1L0s) that the tracts in Scotland and Hoke counties have been acquired by the Nature Conservancy and will add to land already used for conservation near Fort Bragg.

The endangered woodpecker is found in only 10 locations around the Southeast.

The conservation group says buying the tracts will help ensure the woodpeckers are able to move between habitats.

The Conservancy says the land will also provide habitat for other species including tiger salamanders, pine snakes and bobwhite quail.

The red-cockaded woodpecker likes older longleaf pine forests, such as those found at Fort Bragg.

In decades past, officials had worried that protecting the habitat might jeopardize the mission at Fort Bragg.

But the military has worked to prevent destruction of the woodpecker habitat. Earlier this year, officials on Fort Bragg said the fort has 483 clusters of woodpeckers. There are now about 18,000 protected acres of habitat in the region.

The birds were once plentiful in the longleaf pine forests of the Southeast. But much of their habitat was destroyed by timbering and development.

The small birds prefer older, living trees and make cavities in the trees for nests.


Information from: The Fayetteville Observer, https://www.fayobserver.com

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