Red-cockaded woodpecker

Selina Heppell

Latin name: Picoides borealis

The Northern red cockaded woodpecker nests in old growth pine forests of the southeastern U.S. They prefer deep cavities in large trees and live in family groups. In the 1990s, Dr. Selina Heppell created a population model to evaluate conservation strategies for this endangered species. Working with biologists who had studied the birds for decades, she found that creating cavities to attract young birds to new sites would work better than introducing more birds to the population.

Did you know? RCWs nest in pine tree cavities. Male offspring often stay in their parents' territory and behave as "helpers" to raise their siblings.


Heppell, S. S., J. R. Walters, and L. B. Crowder.  1994.  Evaluating management alternatives for red-cockaded woodpeckers: a modeling approach.  Journal of Wildlife Management 58(3): 479-487