Re: Flame Robins in burnt coupes, Blue Range, Vic.

To: Brian Fleming <>
Subject: Re: Flame Robins in burnt coupes, Blue Range, Vic.
Date: Wed, 17 Apr 2002 10:25:47 +1000 (EST)
Hi all, a response to Anthea's message may be of interest too many.

I actually did a bit of research on this a few years ago as part of a position 
that I have with Forestry.  You wouldn't guess going on some of my other emails 
recently to the list.  I just want our forests managed sustainably and 
environmentally sensitive areas placed ahead of profits.

I will try to summarise what i found.

During the burn a lot of insects are forced into the atmosphere like before a 
storm becoming a good food source for Needletails and the like.

After the burn the area becomes uninhabitable by many insect species who try to 
escape the area.  This is what your flame robins will be feeding on, as well as 
cooked bugs on the ground.  This lasts about 3 days.  The burn also removes 
protection for other species that may remain near the area, so it is not 
to find owls and other hunters in the area.  This food source is not 
as there is nothing left to sustain it for quite a few years.  Hence most 
become extinct (locally) from the site.  Of course succession occurs and some 
species benefit from the regrowth.  Richard Loyn of NRE has done some research 
that a patch of poor regrowth of about 20 square metres will create a niche for 
some species.  I cannot remember which ones.  The new clearer area also 
benefits for some species.

Unfortunately this doesn't take away from the fact that most habitat and 
are removed from a logging site for a while and current silviculture practices 
not allow for a forest to mature enough for all species to return before 
occurs again.  

However the area also becomes suitable for species that may not have been  
previously in the area.  And of course we are loosing ecosystems that have 
millions of years to develop.  After logging new species will benefit and these 
will come and go through the successional process.  Also can succesion support 
landscape where more logging is occurring then even before.  

Not the best summary as i am going by memory and trying to keep the response 
short.  Computer crashes over the years have meant that I have lost access to 
most of my data.


Quoting Brian Fleming <>:

> We spent much of the weekend driving round the forest roads within
> reach
> of Thornton (near Eildon, Vic).
> Several coupes in Alpine Ash country had been very recently burnt
> (still
> smoking in places) after timber was cut. These blackened areas turned
> out to be full of Flame Robins flitting about; the males were very
> conspicuous as they perched on blackened stumps or fallen branches.
> There were plenty of brown birds too.
> We had seen only two birds in unburnt forest (by the Quarry near
> Dudley
> Saddle) but we found that each burnt coupe in the Blue Range had
> swarms
> of Flame Robins, all apparently feeding.
> As Julius Sumner Miller used to say, Why is this so?
> Anthea Fleming in Ivanhoe, Vic.
> Birding-Aus is on the Web at
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