CITRUS COUNTY, Fla.-- The Florida Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is successfully growing the population of the endangered Red-Cockaded Woodpecker after a baby was born in Citrus County. 

  • The endangered Red-Cockaded Woodpecker population is growing
  • Breeding program has proven to be a success
  • A strong Woodpecker population helps the forest and other species. 

Twenty years ago they created a program where woodpeckers are brought from other areas and put into pairs for breeding. They now say that they have almost reached their population goal for Hernando and Citrus County. 

"We managed to make the population in Croom go from two breeding pairs to 37 breeding pairs and Citrus to go from about 37 to we're starting to approach 100 now," Vincent Morris with the Withlacoochee Forestry Center said.

The Florida Forest Service also made nests that they put inside the trees, which experts say helps numbers grow quickly since it takes the woodpeckers a long time to build them on their own.

Now, they're sending some of the birds here to other agencies to help grow populations throughout the state.

"The Red-Cockaded Woodpecker is closely tied to Long Leaf Pine ecosystems so having them on the landscape is an indicator of good pine management," Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Biologist Jon Hoch said.

Experts also say managing the forests for the woodpeckers also helps other species like the gopher tortoises and Sherman's Fox Squirrels.