Stoddard Bird Lab

Research and Conservation

Red-cockaded Woodpecker

The Red Hills region supports the largest population of this rare woodpecker remaining on private lands (ca. 200 breeding groups). The Stoddard Bird Lab strives to conserve and expand this unique populations using special tools designed to promote rare species conservation on private lands. These tools include Safe Harbor, translocation, and artificial cavity construction that can be used to help woodpeckers without infringing on private property rights. The end result has been a steady increase in the regional population. To learn more about the Safe Harbor Program and woodpecker conservation, contact Rob Meyer.

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Brown-headed Nuthatch

Gram for gram, few birds pack as much fascinating biology into their feathery frames as the Brown-headed Nuthatch. Some of the interesting behaviors nuthatches perform include allopreening, tool usage, extra-pair fertilization, cooperative breeding, group defense of nest sites, seed caching, and communal roosting.

A large, color-marked nuthatch population has been studied on Tall Timbers for 10+ years to uncover some of the underlying benefits of this very social lifestyle. We have also worked with reintroduced populations in south Florida and the Bahama Nuthatch, which sits on the verge of extinction.

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Gopher Tortoise Behavior and Ecology on the Wade Tract

Research Associate Dr. Tom Radzio has spent the past 5 years studying many different aspects of Gopher Tortoise ecology and behavior on the Wade Tract, one of the most pristine longleaf forests left anywhere. His research has provided great new information within a context that likely mirrors conditions once found throughout many southeastern states

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Bachman’s Sparrow and Breeding Season Fires

Bachman’s Sparrow is one of the most fire-dependent birds in North America. Suitable breeding habitat is highly ephemeral and lies within a very narrow window of time. Suitable conditions appear about 2 months after a fire occurs and persist for another 14–16 months. Singing males defend areas that haven’t been burned within 18 months, but ground cover is generally too thick at this point for nesting.

Bachman’s Sparrows provide an intriguing model for studying movement patterns and patch occupancy in an ever-changing landscape. We monitored a large, color-marked population on the Wade Tract for 6 years and generated essential new information on nest site characteristics, survival, and other key biological traits.

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