UT researchers study declining Red-headed Woodpecker population

UT researchers study declining Red-headed Woodpecker population

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - A specific breed of woodpeckers is d ropping in numbers and University of Toledo researchers want to know why.

"Across the country and even in the state of Ohio, there have been declines of 70 to 80 percent in the past 50 years," said Assistant Ecology Professor for the University of Toledo, Henry Streby.

Even with the declining numbers, Red-headed Woodpeckers seem to like Oak Openings Metropark. Researchers have been at the park since the beginning of May catching the birds to track them with a tiny GPS.

"Take tissue samples and all kinds of monitoring data, so we can figure out what's going on with these populations," said Streby.

The Red-headed Woodpeckers have been challenging to catch.

"They seem to be, compared to other birds we've studied, they seem to be a bit passive to some of our methods. So it's, I would say, half luck and half putting your nets in the right spot," said University of Toledo Graduate Student, Kyle Pagel.

So far the researchers caught ten and would like to catch another ten to follow throughout the year. It's all to figure out how to bring the population up.

"Over maybe the next ten years or so, we'll start to ask those longer term questions of what we can do to help manage and conserve these populations," says Streby.

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