Birding By Habitat: Lake Christine Burn, 6/9/22
Thursday, June 9, 2022, 7am-12pm
Location: Lake Christine Burn Zone, Basalt, CO
Successional re-growth in the Lake Christine Burn on Basalt Mountain is reflected in part by birdlife. We learned about birds that use post-burn forests as preferred alternate habitat, including Olive-Sided Flycatcher and American Three-toed Woodpecker. We also discussed and observed the three primary reasons why these birds are attracted to burned landscapes: abundant foods (especially insects), abundant nesting sites (such as cavities created by a robust woodpecker population), and a relative lack of predators. We saw a robin nesting in a hollow in a charred snag, tree swallows nesting in woodpecker cavities in aspens, and wrens making food deliveries into dense undergrowth supported by nutrients released by fire. Highlights included learning a different call given by olive-sided flycatchers, a Clark's nutcracker fledgling giving constant begging calls as it followed its parent around the conifer canopy in search of food, and a textbook view of a MacGillivray's warbler singing on a bare branch. We focused on bird songs and calls, and practiced using the Merlin app as a learning tool. The abundance of warblers, flycatchers, and many other birds reflected the richness of this habitat area with patches of varying burn severities and areas of green, unburned forest. We also saw a nearby expanse of shrubland habitat that had been treated this season with a prescribed burn, noting the enriched food production that the re-growth will provide to wildlife in coming years. View all upcoming birding outings!
~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide
Featured photo(s): American Three-toed Woodpecker, Lake Christine Fire Burn Zone (left photo by Chris Cohen Photography).