Mt Beenak Fire - bird observations

Subject: Mt Beenak Fire - bird observations
From: "Paul Jones" <>
Date: Sun, 2 Apr 2000 19:53:13 +1000

>Hi all
>About 2 weeks ago there was a large fire on Mt. Beenak (approximately 150 

> The fire was mainly in mixed species forest and burnt very close to my fire

>spotting tower.  It started off as a log coupe burn escape.
>Some very interesting observations on bird behavior where noted during the
>days that this fire burnt.  Some of them are as follows;-
>Wedge Tailed Eagles do not appear to be phased by water bombing planes.  I
>very concerned a couple of times that bird and plane could have collided.
>Sooty Owls will fly during the day. 1 sighted from tower.
>A stag watch (Dusk suvey of what leaves dead trees) completed in the area last

>November found 2 Sooty Owl sites.  Unfortunately 1 stag had to be bulldozed.

> This will cause an uproar, so I will briefly try to defend that decision.

>When I saw the tree it had almost completely burnt through and would have 

>across a control line.  This would have tripled the size of the fire, headed

>towards people's houses, destroyed many other potential Sooty Owl sites and

>a great deal of bird habitat.  It was a shame to see the tree bulldozed, but

>a very necessary sacrifice.  It was a also very dissapointing to see the fire

>escape, but this was not the fault of the NRE fire fighters who where very
> Hopefully in the future Log Coupes won't be put on very steep hills, and 
> attempts

>to turn mixed species forest into a single age catagory will be put on hold

>until more research can be done.  Well actually a stop put on logging native

>forests for pulp would be the best result.
>(This is for information purposes, but fire after logging is the best way to

>prepare a seed bed and allows for the quickest possible regeneration).
>Birds of prey continually flew around the smoke during the duration of the
> A new arrival to the area was a Peregrine Falcon.  The other birds of prey

>noted where Brown falcons and W.T Eagles.  The Peregrine has since remained

>in the area and at a distance a bird fitting its description has been seen
>the eagles.
>Instead of flying around my tower.  The White Throated Needletails took a 

>and spent most of the 3 days in an around the smoke.  Numbers where over 100.

> Even the photos taken have at least 60 black dots in them.  The day after
>fire, there was still a heap of WTN's in the area, but since then numbers have

>steadily decreased to around a couple of groups less then 5.  Presumably the

>WTN's have now headed North.
>When walking through where the fire had been many groups of Superb Blue Wrens,

>where found feeding amongst the smouldering remains. Currawongs, Kookaburras

>and after dark Southern Boobooks, Powerful Owls and Tawny Frogmouths where
>recorded through the burn site.
>I hope that readers will find these observations on birds during a wild fire

>of interest.

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