The 1,745-acre Jones State Forest has long been known as one of the easiest sites in Texas at which to find the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker (RCW). The small black-and-white bird is a specialist of mature pinewoods, and Jones, established in 1926, encompasses areas of loblolly and shortleaf pine ranging from sixty to one hundred years old.
In 2003 there were fifteen clusters, or small family groups, of RCWs on the forest. One cluster was located adjacent to the forest office on Texas Highway 1488, just 1.5 miles west of I –45, southwest of Conroe. Another cluster was less than a quarter mile northwest, and the birds were often seen foraging in the pines around the office. Early morning and late afternoon are best for finding RCWs, and knowing their raspy call is very helpful. Try to visit Jones on a weekday if you can, when the office is open. The staff welcomes visitors, and personnel are happy to provide maps and a bird list and to provide directions and advice for seeing RCWs.
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