Responses of Birds to Large-scale Wildfires in Western ABDSP

Friday, April 22, 2016 - 7:30pm to Saturday, April 23, 2016 - 2:00pm


This class has been cancelled. Our apologies for the inconvenience.


Responses of Birds to Large-scale Wildfires in
Western Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

underwritten by The Pratt Memorial Fund at Union Bank of California

April 22-23, 2016

Instructor: Philip Unitt, Curator of Birds and Mammals, San Diego Natural History Museum

Philip Unitt examined responses of 100 species of birds to the Pines, Coyote and Cedar wildfires of 2002-2003 in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and surrounding habitat. He identified responses and trends in these species which apply both to historic fire recovery and may speak to impacts to species distribution from projected climate change models.

The field tour will include a 4-mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail from the Lucky 5 trailhead and an exploration of the area burned in the Pines fire, if time allows. This area was dense chaparral before the Pines fire of 2002, then was burned to black ground. Now that the area is in some degree of recovery, Phil will discuss the trajectory taken by the birds after the fire and compare what you see today with what was recorded during field work for the bird atlas about 15 years ago. The field class will be limited to 12 participants.

Meet: Front of ABF office (address below) at 6:30 a.m. The group will caravan or carpool about one hour to where the hike begins. Please arrive with a full tank of gas.

Hike Level: Easy to moderate. If additional loops are included, some steeper terrain will be traversed, with a “moderate” rating. Some hiking will be on a narrow trail hugging a steep slope in places so participants will need to be in single file most of the time. Participants should wear sturdy shoes.

Class Schedule and Pricing

Friday Lecture
7:30-9:00 p.m.
$5 at the door; open to the public

Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center
401 Tilting T Drive
Borrego Springs
Saturday Field Class
6:30 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.
$60 - Public Rate (includes lecture)
$50 - ABF Member Rate (includes lecture)

ABF Office
587 Palm Canyon Drive #110
Borrego Springs


About the Instructor

Philip Unitt is Collections Manager of the Birds and Mammals Department of the San Diego Natural History Museum. A native San Diegan, Phil is one of the most knowledgeable experts on the avifauna of San Diego County and Baja California, Mexico. He earned his bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University where he majored in Zoology and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with highest honors. Phil is author of the highly authoritative Bird Atlas of San Diego County and was the driving inspiration from the inception of the project to its completion over a five-year period from 1997-2002, coordinating the field activities of over 400 volunteers. He is also the author of the acclaimed precursor to the atlas, The Birds of San Diego County, and a co-author of Birds of the Salton Sea:  Status, Biogeography, and Ecology. Phil is the author of more than 30 scientific papers, and for the past 30 years has conducted numerous surveys relevant to endangered birds in southern California for local, state, federal, and private conservation agencies.