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Re: [CALBIRDS] Fire and Hummingbirds

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  • Nicholas Freeman
    Hi Birders Nick and I have surveyed the San Gabriel mountains of Los Angeles County for owls the past nine years and worry our survey sites may be affected by
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 1, 2009
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      Hi Birders

      Nick and I have surveyed the San Gabriel mountains of Los Angeles
      County for owls the past nine years and worry our survey sites may be
      affected by the fire. We've also banded Northern Saw-whet Owl along
      the Angeles Crest. I've been told by survey consultants and forestry
      biologists that Spotted Owl have site fidelity until their territory
      "burns up". These owls seem to favor old growth canyons. The fire is
      ravaging old growth, lots of fuel to burn. I've looked at a map that
      shows the eastern edge of the fire to be a couple of miles east of
      Red Box: Angeles Crest Highway at Mt. Wilson Road. We've had a
      number of saw-whet (and other owl species) encounters over the years
      just before this road intersection. The forest to the east of here
      seems to not be affected by the fire but the north edge of the fire
      is heading toward the San Gabriel Wilderness. Newcomb Ranch
      restaurant (about 30 miles from La Canada) seems to still be standing
      but I also heard that maintenance houses were being evacuated this
      afternoon from the Chilao area. We hope that Mt. Wilson observatory
      survives this fire as it's in the path of it. It will be interesting
      to survey these areas once the fire ends and public entry is allowed
      into the Angeles National Forest. That could be until the first snow
      or rain fall of the season. For hummingbird observation at Willow
      Springs along Angeles Forest Highway, there is a small cafe
      "Hummingbird Springs" that hang a number of hummingbird feeders
      outside of their cafe. I hope this cafe survived the fire and I look
      forward to see it still standing as it is always worth the stop to
      get close-up views of the hummingbirds.

      Mary Freeman
      Glendale, CA
    • Ken Burton
      Hummingbirds are likely to fare relatively well. They are highly mobile and generally favor early-successional habitats. The smoky air probably won t bother
      Message 2 of 3 , Sep 2, 2009
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        Hummingbirds are likely to fare relatively well. They are highly mobile
        and generally favor early-successional habitats. The smoky air probably
        won't bother them much. There are few if any active nests now. Some
        individuals will lose habitat temporarily but the fires should produce
        excellent wildflower blooms that will provide abundant food for hummers
        in the coming years.

        Ken Burton
        Arcata
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "John C. MacGregor" <jonivy@...>
        To: <CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Monday, August 31, 2009 10:02 PM
        Subject: [CALBIRDS] Fire and Hummingbirds


        > As many of you know, in the San Gabriel Mountains north of the Los
        > Angeles Basin we are experiencing the greatest fire in the history of
        > California--more than 100,000 acres burned and still growing
        > rapidly. More than 12,000 homes evacuated. Many structure
        > destroyed. The entire southern California communication system of
        > television and emergency radio towers and the famous Hale Observatory
        > threatened on Mount Wilson. Completely out of control, with
        > containment at least another week away. Here is the show we have
        > been watching in the daytime (when the southwestern sea breeze blows
        > the smoke away from the cities--otherwise, we can't see anything) for
        > the past five days:
        >
        > http://brandonriza.com/Video/HTML/ZeroPercentContained.html
        >
        > I have received several questions from hummingbird watchers about the
        > effect this catastrophic fire might have on our little friends.
        > Would they get away? What would the very foul air quality do to
        > them? (As a lifelong asthma sufferer, I can attest that it makes
        > breathing extremely difficult. I sleep with a C-PAP machine that
        > filters and humidifies the air, so I am not in great trouble at
        > night). But what would it do to the lungs of tiny hummers? It would
        > certainly kill any unfledged babies, but would newly fledged birds be
        > able to cope with these conditions?
        >
        > John C. MacGregor, Hummers-West List Owner
        > South Pasadena, CA, USA
        > USDA Zone 9
        > Sunset Zones 21/23
        >
        >
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