Effects of prescribed fire on conditions inside a Cuban parrot (Amazona Leucocephala) surrogate nesting cavity on Great Abaco, Bahamas
Cuban Parrots (Amazona leucocephala) on the island of Great Abaco in the Bahamas forage and nest in native pine forests. The population is unique in that the birds nest in limestone solution holes on the forest floor. Bahamian pine forests are fire-dependent with a frequent surface fire regime. The effects of fire on the parrots, especially while nesting, are not well known. We measured ambient conditions inside a cavity characteristic of the Cuban Parrot’s Abaconian population as a prescribed fire passed over it. Cavity conditions were relatively benign; although temperatures immediately outside the cavity rose to 800 C, inside temperatures increased only 5 C at 30 cm inside the entrance and 0.4 C at the cavity floor (cavity depth was 120 cm). CO2 levels briefly rose to 2,092 ppm as the flames passed, but dropped to nearly ambient levels approximately 15 min later. Smoke levels also were elevated only briefly, with 0.603 mg of total suspended particulates filtered from 0.1 m3 of air. Smokey conditions lasted approximately 20 min. Received 23 September 2005, accepted 5 May 2006.