We’ve been slowly trying to comprehend and take in the images and information we’re receiving from friends and collaborators in Valle Nuevo. A lightning-induced forest fire began approximately two weeks ago, and aided by both a long, dry spell as well as consistent winds, the fire was able to spread significantly over a short amount of time. A great many groups and organizations came together to fight the fire and aid those on the front lines, and our sincere thanks and gratitude goes out to every individual that contributed in any way they could. Their efforts, combined with a long-awaited rainstorm, have diminished the fires at last.
Pajon fields and thick pine forest burned quickly. The fact that all of our boxes are attached to metal posts, and almost all are located away from the forest edge turned out to be a bit of fortunate luck for the project in that the fires swept low through the grass fields and spared most the boxes. Furthermore, a week prior to the beginning of the blaze, all of this years’ chicks had fledged.
The following images are difficult to fully understand from my office in Ithaca, but they are teaching us much. We’ll be heading down sometime in the near future to begin the restoration and rebuilding efforts so that the boxes are ready for the 2015 field season. How the fire has and will impact the localized migration of the species as well as their food sources is hard to say at this point.
Thank you to all of you that submitted these photos to me.