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Woodpecker Population Growing in Virginia

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A Forest Service employee monitors a red-cockaded woodpecker to track population trends (Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service / Chuck Hess) A Forest Service employee monitors a red-cockaded woodpecker to track population trends (Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service / Chuck Hess)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers are making a comeback in Virginia.

The Center for Conservation Biology at the College of William and Mary said surveys last year found 96 individual birds. That's the highest level since the early 1980s.

Red-cockaded woodpeckers require old growth pine savannas maintained by fire and their population levels have declined because of a loss of habitat. The bird was listed as endangered in 1970.

The birds live in the Nature Conservancy's Piney Grove Preserve and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.

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