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Project ID: 03-3-3-26

Year: 2003

Date Started: 08/18/2003

Date Completed: 09/13/2006

Title: Effects of Wildland Fires on Buff-Breasted Flycatchers and Other Forest Birds in Southeastern Arizona

Project Proposal Abstract: Long-term fire suppression in Southwestern forests is thought to have influenced the distribution and abundance of many bird species, including rare species such as the buff-breasted flycatcher (Empidonax fulvifrons). Few studies have examined the effect of fire on forest birds in the southwest, despite the historical importance of wildfires in shaping these forest ecosystems and the recent increase of wild and prescribed fires in the region. Given the unforeseen wildfire season of 2002 and subsequent prescribed burns in the region, we now have a unique opportunity to collect post-burn data and critically evaluate the role of fire in influencing the distribution and abundance of buff-breasted flycatchers and other forest bird species in southeastern Arizona. We propose to evaluate the effects of recent wild and prescribed fires on populations of buff-breasted flycatchers and other forest bird species by repeating surveys on established bird survey routes (both burned routes and unburned control routes) in 2003 and 2004. We will compare post-burn data of presence and abundance with pre-burn data collected on these survey routes in 2000. Results from this study will provide managers from various federal and state agencies with vital information regarding the effects of fire on populations of buff-breasted flycatchers in the United States. Should fire increase the presence and/or abundance of buff-breasted flycatchers, we will have documented the importance of fire as a management tool to help restore habitat and increase population size for this extremely rare species. In addition to information on buff-breasted flycatchers, we will provide managers with data on the effects of fire for the entire avian community, including several other priority species of local management concern (e.g., elegant trogon [Trogon elegans], northern goshawk [Accipiter gentiles], and band-tailed pigeon [Columba fasciata]). Finally, results from this study will shed light on the effects of long-term fire suppression on the structure and composition of forest bird communities in the Southwest.

Principal Investigator: Chris Kirkpatrick

Agency/Organization: University of Arizona-Tucson

Branch or Dept: School of Natural Resources & the Environment

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Federal Cooperator

Courtney J. Conway

University of Idaho

Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network


There are no project locations identified for this project.

Project Deliverables

Final Report view or print

("Results presented in JFSP Final Reports may not have been peer-reviewed and should be interpreted as tentative until published in a peer-reviewed source.")

  ID Type Title
    1230 Government Publication Effect of Forest Fire Suppression on Buff-Breasted Flycatchers
view or print   1349 Government Publication Fire This Time: Another Burn at Wildlife Refuge
view or print   2458 Journal Article The Southwestern Naturalist
    998 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Range Expansion of the Buff-Breasted Flycatcher (Empidonax fulvifrons) in the Rincon Mountains, AZ: A Response to Recent Fire
    999 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Proposed Evaluation of Methods for Measuring Burn Severity in Forests During Avain Surveys
  go to website 2202 Website  
    2203 Poster Proposed Evaluation of Methods for Measuring Burn Severity in Forests During Avian Surveys
    2204 Field Demonstration/Tour  

Supporting Documents

The following supporting documents are available for this project.

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