Survival and Density of Bachman's Sparrows (Aimophila aestivalis) in Response to Growing Season Prescribed Fires in Southern Georgia
SURVIVAL AND DENSITY OF BACHMAN'S SPARROWS (AIMOPHILA AESTIVALIS) IN RESPONSE TO GROWING SEASON PRESCRIBED FIRES IN SOUTHERN GEORGIA
Clark Jones and Robert J. Cooper
D.B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602
Abstract: The Bachman's sparrow (Aimophila aestivalis) is an endemic passerine of the southeastern United States that requires frequent disturbances, typically fires occurring at least every 3 years, to replenish the vegetation structure it prefers. Prescribed fires applied during the nesting season (i.e., growing-season fires) may be detrimental to this ground-nesting species if population recovery time is slow. To determine how growing-season prescribed fires affected survival and density of Bachman's sparrows, we monitored two color-banded populations that received prescribed fires at 2 spatial extents (100 ha and <25 ha) during 2006 and 2007. Monthly survival did not differ significantly between burned and unburned plots. Growing-season prescribed fires appear to have little impact on the survival and density of Bachman's sparrows, and are an important management tool that can be used to increase burn frequencies by burning more area each year.