Skip to main content
  1. Sports
  2. Recreation
  3. Outdoor Rec & Adventure

Wildfires may have devastated breeding wildlife

See also

Last weeks devastating wildfires in San Diego County not only affected thousands of human beings, but may have destroyed denning and nesting sites of many breeding animals. Several animals were observed trying to escape the wildfires; some were reported to have young with them. Research ecologist Barbara Kus and her crew were surveying endangered least Bell’s vireos when they were forced to abandon their research because of the fires. Kus claims that the dry weather has been having a big effect on the species’ breeding this year.

The wildlife in San Diego County is adapted to dry conditions and the occasional wildfire. Most animals breed in the early spring just as the rainy season starts to end and while there is still a cool marine layer keeping things from getting too dry. Most animals, including heavy multiple breeders, such as Anna’s hummingbirds, stop breeding by early September. Around that time, the weather usually turns hot and dry and the chance of wildfires increases. By then, most young animals are mobile and able to move to a new area.

However, in mid-May many animals are still in dens and nests. Some birds may have been close to fledging at this time, but not able to fly or walk around. Coyote pups and other denning animals may be mobile, but not enough to escape a fire. Deer fawns are mobile, but not as fast as adults and often respond to danger by hiding. Some precocial birds, like quail, killdeer, and waterfowl, can sometimes move away from fires, but not quickly. Smoky conditions can also affect young animals’ lungs.

It is unknown how much the wildlife in the area was affected by last week’s fires or if any nesting animals survived. For some animals and birds, it may still be early for them to start again. For others, the breeding season is now over. While life has the ability to rebound from disasters such as these, it can’t recover if these events become more common.

Advertisement

Sports

  • David Price rumors
    Should the bottom-dwelling Tampa Bay Rays trade or keep pitching ace David Price?
    Video
    MLB Rumors
  • Maria Kirilenko slideshow
    Feast your eyes on the former fiance of Alex Ovechkin: The newly-single Maria Kirilenko
    Camera
    20 Photos
  • Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen has Alzheimer's disease, will step down
    NFL News
  • Sam responds to Dungy
    Michael Sam has the perfect response to Tony Dungy's controversial comments
    NFL News
  • Bella wardrobe malfunction
    Sexy diva Nikki Bella suffers wardrobe malfunction during WWE show
    Fight Sports
  • LeBron gives cupcakes
    LeBron James sends cupcakes to neighbors after press overtakes neighborhood
    Food & Drink