The effects of fire on nonbreeding songbird species in riparian habitat have not been studied. We compared body condition, within-year site fidelity, and between-year site fidelity of 3 songbird species (Passerella iliaca, Fox Sparrow; Catharus guttatus, Hermit Thrush; and Regulus calendula, Ruby-crowned Kinglet) at 2 coastal riparian sites. Wildfire, which is rare in this habitat, had occurred at 1 of the sites before data collection. A significantly larger proportion of Passerella iliaca was recaptured in subsequent winters at the unburned site than at the burned site, but little difference was found between sites for Catharus guttatus or Regulus calendula. Body mass of all 3 species declined during winter at the burned site, but differences between sites were not significant. Similarly, body mass indices of new captures were lower at the burned site than the unburned site for all 3 species, but these differences were not significant. The within-year recapture rate for all 3 species combined declined at the burned site over the course of the study, possibly due to changes in vegetation structure caused by the fire. Overall, our data suggest that wintering songbirds were resilient to this disturbance, but that response to the post-fire environment differed among foraging guilds. Well-replicated studies that include pre-burn data are needed to evaluate the effects of this disturbance in riparian systems.
Samuels, Ivan A.; Gardali, Thomas; Humple, Diana L.; and Geupel, Geoffrey R.
"Winter site fidelity and body condition of three riparian songbird species following a fire,"
Western North American Naturalist: Vol. 65
, Article 5.
Available at: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/wnan/vol65/iss1/5