ASHEBORO — The N.C. Forest Service will be conducting a controlled burn at the North Carolina Zoo in the upcoming days ,dependent on favorable conditions. The burn area is approximately 25 acres and will take place in a shortleaf pine stand in the natural area north of the North America Prairie habitat.

This controlled burn is part of the zoo’s regional conservation program and is being conducted to improve habitat for the brown-headed nuthatch, a small acrobatic bird of open pine forests in the southeastern United States.

The brown-headed nuthatch is becoming less common each year. The birds are cavity nesters, and it has become difficult for them to find cavities, since in modern times trees often get cut down for lumber before they get old enough to become hollow.

Fortunately, brown-headed nuthatches like nest boxes, and the Zoo has nest boxes to put up for them as soon as the prescribed burn has been completed.

During the burn, residents may notice smoke from the controlled fires and can be assured that public safety and the safety of the zoo’s animals are the first priorities.

For more information about this process, contact Nell Allen, the Zoo’s associate curator of conservation, at 336-879-7409.