Impacts of prescribed burning on migratory and breeding birds on a costal barrier island



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Texas Tech University


Prescribed burning has been used to modify and diversify habitat in both grassland and forest ecosystems. However, use of prescribed burning as a tool en coastal barrier islands characterized by a Spartina/Paspalum grassland has received httle attention. Coastal barrier islands along the Gulf of Mexico provide important step-ever habitat for many migratory bkd species. The alteration or disturbance of this habitat may aflfect how these species meet the cost of migration. I assessed the inq)act of prescribed binning en the local abundance and breeding habitat of resident and migratory bkd species at Matagorda Island National Wildlife Refiige and State Natural Area, Texas, 1993 and 1994.

I located 12, 122 ha plots en the mid-island portion of Matagorda Island in the barrier flats and estabUshed 12-16 fixed-radius point count stations on each plot. Two plots were bumed in late August 1992 and 1993 (summer bums), two in early January 1993 and 1994 (winter bmns), and four plots served as controls. I used point count stations to measure vegetation variables and to conduct bkd surveys. I located and monitored nests to evaluate nest success en control and treatment areas. I also examined micrehabitat selection of breeding bkds at nest sites.



Wildlife refuges, Prescribed burning, Birds