Threats to Woodpeckers

Threats to woodpeckers include loss of habitat, human encroachment, and pesticides.

Climate change may also pose a direct threat to woodpeckers and their habitats. For instance, Francis Marion National Forest, which at the time held the largest population of red-cockaded woodpeckers, suffered a direct hit by Hurricane Hugo in 1989 destroyed 87 percent of the nesting cavity trees within the Forest. And in 2001, Kentucky’s population of red-cockadeds was destroyed following a devastating outbreak of the southern pine beetle. Drought stress, beetle outbreaks and increases in the frequency and severity of forest fires could reduce the availability of mature forest that most species of woodpeckers need.