eWestern BirdsThe Quarterly Journal of Western Field Ornithologists
Vol. 44, No. 1
Western Field Ornithologists
A Twenty-Year Investigation of the Effects of Fire on a Coastal Sage Scrub Bird Community
David J. Moriarty
ABSTRACT: From 1983 to 2003 I examined the effects of fire on the bird community of two 1.25-ha tracts of coastal sage scrub, Box Canyon and F Canyon, 0.4 km apart in a 31-ha reserve in Los Angeles County, California. Wildfire burned Box Canyon in 1981 and both sites in 1989. I observed 90 species in F Canyon, 80 in Box Canyon, of which 73 were seen in both. The same species were common throughout the 20-year period. F Canyon had more species per count than Box Canyon in both summer and winter. Immediately after the 1989 wildfire, observations of some species of open habitat increased, and observations of some species confined to shrubs decreased. Effects of the 1989 fire on the sites were of short duration. Differences between the sites in number of species attributed to the 1981 fire in earlier studies are confounded by differences between the sites.