William & Mary

Dana Bradshaw recognized for commitment to woodpecker recovery

  • CCB recognition:
    CCB recognition:  Dana Bradshaw displays a framed red-cockaded woodpecker photo within the Paul Baker Library at CCB.  Photo by Bryan Watts
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The Center for Conservation Biology recently recognized the work made by research associate Dana Bradshaw ’81, M.S. ’90, toward the recovery of an endangered bird population in Virginia.

Bradshaw began work with the red-cockaded woodpecker in the fall of 1980 as a graduate student working under Mitchell Byrd in the biology department at William & Mary.

Having grown up in the heart of the species’ range in Virginia, Bradshaw would bring a wealth of experience and a unique perspective to the work. The woodpecker had been classified as federally endangered, and Virginia represented the northern edge of the species’ range.

Bradshaw’s master’s thesis focused on foraging and home range requirements for red-cockaded woodpeckers, topics that would later inform critical components of the state’s recovery strategy. But his enthusiasm for the woodpecker and commitment to its recovery would not end with his graduate work.

Bradshaw would move on from graduate work to become the first biologist within the newly formed non-game program within the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries.

Among other responsibilities, Bradshaw would oversee red-cockaded woodpecker monitoring and management. He would later leave the agency to become a biologist and then a research associate within CCB. Despite working with many species and in many capacities, Bradshaw maintains a reputation as one of the most consistent and knowledgeable voices for woodpecker recovery in Virginia.

Recently, in recognition of 35 years of commitment to the recovery of the red-cockaded woodpecker, CCB presented Bradshaw with a framed photo.

The photo, taken by John DiGiorgio within the Nature Conservancy’s Piney Grove Preserve, depicts a milestone event within the decades-long effort to recover the Virginia population. The bird, a female from North Carolina, was the first to breed in the state after having been brought in from another population. The translocation program was a successful management strategy that helped to reverse the population decline.

The Center for Conservation Biology is a joint program of William & Mary and Virginia Commonwealth University.