of Boiling Spring Lakes, NC
Sometimes the smallest thing
can make the biggest impact. Take for instance the Red-cockaded
Woodpecker. It is no bigger than the North Carolina Cardinal and
rarely does anything to get in the way, yet for the property owners
Boiling Spring Lakes, these little birds have become a real
hassle for their personal choice of living conditions.
These black and white stripped
birds with white cheeks earned their names from the red markings
hidden on the side of the male woodpecker’s neck. There are usually
about 3-4 birds living in one family, with several families living
together in a “cluster.” Each cluster has a breeding female that
lays 3-4 eggs, and the youngest males of the group will help to
incubate and care for the eggs. The younger females fly off to start
their own families in other clusters.
The Red-cockaded Woodpecker
earned its way to the endangered species list during the early
1970’s. A consensus done in March of 2007 showed that there is an
estimated 15,000 individual birds left scattered throughout the
southeastern portion of the United States. To give you an idea of
these figures, in 2005, there were 89,162 people living in Brunswick
One of the many reasons for
their great demise is for their sophisticated taste of housing
location. They are non-migratory, so they aren’t flying any further
south for the winter. They prefer to build there nests in the
matured, burned out long-needled pines, much like the ones that
dominate the Boiling Spring Lakes area. As they have no plans on
packing up and leaving, it usually takes Red-cockaded Woodpeckers
several years to build their nest, which they tend to pass down to
In an attempt to save the
RCW’s natural habitat, scientists from the North Carolina Ecological
Field Office conferred with city officials at the end of 2005 to
express their concerns over the development properties of Boiling
Spring Lakes. By the beginning of 2006, a major RCW recovery
operation was underway with the help of the
United States Fish and Wildlife Services.
Federal regulations were set
up to urge property owners against the clearing of protected nests.
As the Endangered Species Act Section 9 decrees, “it is unlawful to
“take” actions that harm, harass, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, trap,
capture, collect, or kill a species.” It is also unlawful to modify
a habitat in a way that would lead to death or injury of a listed
species, which is where the Red-cockaded Woodpeckers of Boiling
Spring Lakes fell.
In order to clear a lot (if it
fell under the RCW inhabited area), the property owner must first
apply for an incident take permit, which can take as long as a year
to be accepted and add additional cost too. Many weren’t too eager
to pay an additional fee for another permit, but the alternative for
failing to comply with the mandate is a $100,000 fine.
Town official understand the
headaches of the property owners, so they are in the process of
trying to apply for one incident take permit for the town of Boiling
Spring Lakes as a whole, saving the individual property owners from
having to handle it themselves.
The Nature Conservancy has stepped
up to the plate as well. Having acquired 6,500 acres around the
Boiling Spring Lakes community, they are in the process of making a
nature preserve that can one day support the disappearing species.
2007. All Rights Reserved.