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Date:         Sun, 27 Feb 2011 11:41:48 -0800
Reply-To:     Charlie <cmmbirds@YAHOO.COM>
Sender:       Georgia Birders Online <GABO-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From:         Charlie <cmmbirds@YAHOO.COM>
Subject:      post-burn Joe Kurz WMA, Meriwether County
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

Hi folks,

11 days ago we burned several units of Joe Kurz WMA in Meriwether County, for ecological purposes. One of those units is the grassland restoration site which I have been monitoring for over 4 years. The monitoring consists of banding birds approximately once every 2 weeks year-round, as well as compiling a list of all birds seen and heard while we are there for any reason. We have seen some positive changes since the restoration effort began.

We saw at least 5 herbaceous plants blooming in the field, and most of the native grass bases were already greening up nicely. The fire also really knocked back the privet in a few areas, and has rendered that which survives more vulnerable to shovel, weed wrench and herbicide, by removing lots of dead plant debris and briers which mostly prevented us from accessing the bases.

We had wanted to band within a week after burning, but were not able to, due to weather and scheduling conflicts. But the 2 busiest days in station history followed the last 2 times the unit was burned. I predicted that we lost our "window" of big numbers by having to wait 11 days, and I was essentially correct. Even though we captured over 50 birds, that was not nearly as many as after the last 2 burns. We also happened to burn it this year after most of the Savannah Sparrows have left.

It was interesting that we caught 4 Brown-headed Nuthatches and 2 Downy Woodpeckers. We have handled fewer than a dozen of each species before today. I wonder if the burn either brought in some more insects, or perhaps made some existing insects more available. Our study is not designed to answer such a question, so that will have to go in the "interesting" category for the foreseeable future.

As with previous fires, we saw large flocks of sparrows (mostly Chipping and Field) moving in waves across the field, stopping in various locations for 5 - 10 minutes. We saw several flocks leave the unit, and saw several enter the unit. We have no way to know if this was constant turnover, or if it was the same flocks returning.

We have not seen a Bald Eagle at Flat Shoals on the Flint River (where Flat Shoals road crosses, between Gay and Concord) in nearly 2 months. But we saw many hundreds of turtles there today, as is typical on sunny days.

We did NOT have any cranes today. :-)

Joe Kurz WMA is a Georgia Important Bird Area (IBA). For more information on IBAs please see http://www.atlantaaudubon.org/iba.htm

This research has been supported by three grants from from Georgia Ornithological Society. An additional GOS grant is helping to restore native plants to the area. The restoration and research were initiated by the Non-Game Division of Georgia Department of Natural Resources, which still conducts most of the restoration and supports the research.

Cheers, Charlie Muise Georgia IBA Coordinator

Location: Joe Kurz WMA Observation date: 2/27/11 Notes: 11 days post-burn. LOTS of sparrow activity in burned field. Some unusual bandings: 4 BHNU, 2 DOWO, >30 CHSP Number of species: 31

Canada Goose X Black Vulture 2 Turkey Vulture 1 Red-shouldered Hawk 2 Red-tailed Hawk (Eastern) 1 Mourning Dove 1 Common Ground-Dove 2 Red-bellied Woodpecker 2 Downy Woodpecker 2 Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 1 Pileated Woodpecker 1 Eastern Phoebe 1 Blue Jay 2 American Crow 7 crow sp. 18 Carolina Chickadee 4 Tufted Titmouse 3 Brown-headed Nuthatch 6 Carolina Wren 2 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1 Eastern Bluebird 3 American Robin 5 Northern Mockingbird 1 Brown Thrasher 1 Pine Warbler 3 Palm Warbler 1 Eastern Towhee 2 Chipping Sparrow 100 Field Sparrow 25 Song Sparrow 6 Northern Cardinal 15 Red-winged Blackbird X

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