US Fish & Wildlife Federation's temporary housing for displaced red cockaded woodpeckers, staff surveying downed pines in Southwest Georgia.
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US Fish & Wildlife Federation's temporary housing for displaced red cockaded woodpeckers, staff surveying downed pines in Southwest Georgia.

Hurricane Michael damaged and destroyed hundreds of houses in southwest Georgia, but the storm also left some wildlife without a home.

Bird houses.

The hurricane toppled hundreds of acres of longleaf pine trees – where red cockaded woodpeckers nest. Jay Jensen with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Foundation says they’re creating new shelters for the threatened birds in different trees in and around Georgia’s Silverlake Wildlife Management Area south of Bainbridge.

MORE ON HURRICANE MICHAEL: After the storm

“We can basically cut a hole out of the tree," Jensen said. "We insert this box in so the birds think it’s just like a nest that they’ve built themselves, but we can do it in less than two hours time and they like it.”

These birdhouses are critical to keep the woodpeckers safe from predators, Jensen said. While newly planted Longleaf Pines will take decades to mature, the birds’ natural habitats can return in as little as 10 years. That’s good news for all the animals whose habitat depends on the longleaf pines. 

GPB News brings you comprehensive coverage of Hurricane Michael's impact and the recovery of southwest Georgia. 

Downed longleaf pine trees in Southwest Georgia.
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Downed longleaf pine trees in Southwest Georgia.