Talladega National Forest, Oakmulgee Ranger District

This area is home to the largest population of red-cockaded woodpeckers in the National Forests in Alabama. Two clusters of red-cockaded woodpecker cavity trees are located close to Forest Service Roads 724 and 745. You can view these shy endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers from a distance at the break of dawn when they leave their cavity trees in the morning to go foraging and at dusk when they return to the trees for the night.

The red-cockaded woodpeckers are the only woodpeckers in North America that excavate cavities in living pine trees. Here in the Oakmulgee Ranger District they seem to prefer the longleaf pines, but they will use other living pine species. Nesting occurs in mid-April when the female red-cockaded woodpecker lays a clutch of three to five white eggs in the breeding males roost cavity. The eggs hatch after 10 to 12 days of incubation and nestlings fledge from the nest cavity 24 to 27 days after hatching.
Because the trees in most clusters are well spaced and the area is park-like in nature, you may glimpse other bird species in this habitat. For example, the Great-Crested Flycatcher and the Eastern blue bird sometimes use abandoned cavities for nests. The Pine Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Red headed woodpeckers, Pileated woodpecker, and the Brown headed nuthatch can be seen and heard here also.

Free land in Alabama drew settlers to the western and southern parts of Bibb County in the 1830s and 1840s. These people came from neighboring counties, South Carolina and Georgia, and as far away as Great Britain and Germany. Many of them were farmers and loggers. The farming and logging methods that they used harmed the land and created soil erosion problems. Between 1935 and 1938, more than 300,000 acres were added to the Talladega National Forest through the programs of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to protect the land from further damage. Originally there were two Ranger Districts--the Oakmulgee Ranger District and the Tuscaloosa Ranger District. For more information, visit http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/alabama.

Address: 9901 Hwy 5, Brent AL 35034
Phone:    205-926-9765    
Fax: 205-926-9712

The Talladega National Forest is open year round. There are several areas that require a usage fee:  Payne Lake, Vick Shooting Range, and the South Sandy Shooting Range.

About this Entry

Piper Interpretive Trail

Payne Lake Recreation Area

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.