- Associated Press - Friday, October 30, 2015

SUFFOLK, Va. (AP) - Four pairs of endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers have been relocated to Virginia’s Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the woodpecker hadn’t been seen in the refuge since 1974 and was re-established there earlier this month.

Biologists captured the birds from healthy populations in North Carolina and South Carolina and placed in cavities dug in the swamp’s pine trees.

It’s the second population of the species in Virginia. According to the Nature Conservancy, the red-cockaded woodpecker’s population has grown from 11 in 2002 to 67 this year at a preserve in Sussex County.

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

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