Kisatchie National Forest 'bands' newborn endangered woodpeckers

Kisatchie National Forest 'bands' species of endangered woodpecker

VERNON PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Jonny Fryar, a wildlife biologist with the Calcasieu District of the Kisatchie National Forest, is part of the team that has been studying the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, which was placed on the endangered list in the early 1900's.  According to Fryar, there are tons of reasons for a species of animal to become endangered.

"Natural reasons... but a lot of reasons are from our human actions" he said.

Unlike the thousands of trees that populate the Kisatchie National Forest today, in the 1900's, the Vernon Parish woodlands were scarce.

"Habitat is the most important thing by far and so when that goes then that species is in peril" said Fryar.

Once a year, a team climbs into active woodpecker nests to remove newborn chicks to band their tiny feet.

The bands- of which there are thousands- all represent something different from size to gender, and help the forest service monitor the birds that remain in the forest throughout the year and make plans for their future homes.

"That [banding] will help since we're a donor population we'll be able to come back and roost these sites and tell which ones are the juveniles that we banded this year and if it's a male or female" said wildlife technician, Ashley Alost.

Fryar says that while the banding system doesn't directly help the endangerment issue, it allows the forest service to keep inventory of their stock which also allows them to share the birds throughout different regions.

"We're able to find the juveniles of this year that we're able to give away by using the banding system" said Fryar.

copyright 2012 KPLC. All rights reserved.