D'Arbonne National Wildlife Refuge - Red-cockaded Woodpecker Site

Union/Ouachita Parish Line on LA143 is a landmark. Visitors can access the Red-cockaded Woodpecker Nesting Colony by traveling on LA Hwy 143 to the Union/Ouachita parish line. Visitors can enter from a designated parking area 0.45 mi above New Wall Lake Road. Walk west from this parking area for about 100 yards to the colony, marked by rings painted on the trees. Alternatively, visitors can proceed south onto the powerline right-of-way just north of the parish line. Walk south for 1/2 mile to the third power pole, then east 100 yards to marked nesting trees.

D’Arbonne National Wildlife Refuge was established primarily to protect bottomland hardwood forest habitat and provide wintering habitat for migratory waterfowl. Additionally, the refuge provides a habitat for alligators, bald eagles, the little-known Rafinesque's big-eared bat, and the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker.

Spring is the best season to visit the refuge’s primary Red-cockaded Woodpecker nesting colony. The birds are active first in courtship (February-March) and then foraging on behalf of the nestlings (March-April). A special area is set up specifically for visitors desiring to see the federally-endangered Red-cockaded Woodpeckers (see directions below). There are no amenities besides parking and identification signage. It is not handicapped-accessible.

Aside from woodpeckers, additional bird species include year-round residents such as Carolina Wren, Pine Warbler, and Northern Cardinal. During winter months, additional nearctic species join the residents. These include American Goldfinch, Pine Siskin, Purple Finch, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and Orange-crowned and Yellow-rumped Warblers.

The powerline option provides opportunities to look for sparrows, raptors, flycatchers, Eastern Bluebirds, and other species that hunt from open perches. Birders must wear hunter orange (vest, attire) when accessing this site during hunting seasons.

Parks & Nature