Title: The effect of using a "soft" release on translocation success of red-cockaded woodpeckers
Author: Franzreb, Kathleen E.;
Source: In: Costa, Ralph; Daniels, Susan J., eds. Red-cockaded woodpecker: Road to recovery. Blaine, WA: Hancock House Publishers: 301-306.
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
Description: Translocations of the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker have been conducted since 1986 to enhance critically small subpopulations, to minimize the likelihood of local extirpations, and to reduce the adverse effects of fragmentation and isolation among existing populations. Such attempts have resulted in mixed success as many translocated birds either disappeared shortly after release or returned to the capture site. All such previous releases were "hard" releases in which the bird was captured, transported to the release cluster, and released shortly thereafter. I used a "soft" release approach whereby red-cockaded woodpeckers were captured, transported to the release location, and maintained in a large, portable mobile aviary at the release cluster for 9 to 14 days. I tested 22 birds in the aviary to determine whether translocation success could be increased by housing the birds in a mobile aviary at the release cluster on the Savannah River Site, South Carolina. Of the 13 birds who completed the test, the translocation success rate was 61.5%, not significantly different from the 63.2% obtained during earlier hard releases conducted at the same location. It may be that a longer period of confinement in the aviary is necessary to instill site fidelity in the birds, but extending the time period would need to be weighed against the additional costs and the increased potential for bird loss.
Keywords: Aviary, Savannah River site, South Carolina, translocation
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Franzreb, Kathleen E. 2004. The effect of using a "soft" release on translocation success of red-cockaded woodpeckers. In: Costa, Ralph; Daniels, Susan J., eds. Red-cockaded woodpecker: Road to recovery. Blaine, WA: Hancock House Publishers: 301-306.
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