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    Many catastrophic wildfires burned throughout forests in Arizona during the spring and summer of 1996 owing to severely dry conditions. One result of these fires was a loss of preexisting tree cavities for reproduction. In ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests most cavities are found in dead trees; therefore, snags are a very important habitat component for cavity-nesting species. Thls study focused on the impacts of wildfire on bird populations within 3 ponderosa pine forests throughout northern Arizona. We present preliminary results from the first bird breeding season following the fires.

    We randomly established points throughout areas that represented 3 burn severities: severely burned, moderately burned, and unburned. We conducted fixed-radius point counts and nest searches throughout the breeding season. Secondary cavity-nesters as a group did not show significant differences in relative abundance among 3 categories of fire severity. When analyzed at the species level, however, the wildfires did affect the relative abundance of 2 secondary cavity-nesting species, western bluebirds and mountain chickadees. We found no secondary cavity-nests in severely burned areas, most likely due to the lack of cavities after the fire.

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    Dwyer, Jill K.; Block, William M. 2000. Effects of wildfire on densities of secondary cavity-nesting birds in ponderosa pine forests of northern Arizona. In: Moser, W. Keith; Moser, Cynthia E., eds. Fire and forest ecology: innovative silviculture and vegetation management. Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conference Proceedings, No. 21. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 151-156


    Arizona, fire severity, ponderosa pine, secondary cavity-nesters, snags, wildfire

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