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