All:
Just wanted to offer another perspective on the situation in southeast Arizona. As heartbreaking as it may be to some; fire is a natural, essential process that often has a restorative ecological effect. Many of the large conifers in the region actually require a fire to open the cones in order to germinate. Some species of woodpecker will thrive on the burnt trees. The soils are enriched...the land may be renewed. The birds will likely adapt to the fire and to the changes in the habitat...the people may have a much tougher time. 
What we may really be lamenting is the loss of BIRDER habitat, not bird habitat...(The two can overlap, but are not necessarily the same thing).
Although it isn't very practical, a large-scaled controlled burn in the Ozark forests of southern Missouri would likely be the best possible medicine for a less-than-fully healthy ecosystem. I'm sure the Bachman's Sparrows would appreciate it.
Many of us know of the importance of fire on a tallgrass prarie. I'm sure the decline of the Greater Prairie Chicken in northern and western Missouri  is a direct result of a lack of fire and grazing by large buffalo-type creatures (and the resulting fragmentation of the prairie). Fire is essential to the long-term health of a prairie ecosystem.
The loss of personal property due to a large fire is often tragic and regrettable through the eyes of our species. By successfully supressing fires for many decades, we have unwittingly created ideal conditions for a monster fire like the one currently raging in southeast Arizona, which is probably more harmful to homo sapiens than it is to Berryline Hummingbirds...
Doug Willis
Liberty, MO
[log in to unmask]
 
 
------------------------------------------------------------
The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
Questions or comments? Email the list owners:
mailto:[log in to unmask]