Habitat use by nongame birds in central Appalachian riparian forests

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Virginia Tech

I sampled bird densities and habitat characteristics along a gradient from a second-order stream to 454 m upland at 16 locations. Total bird density, species richness, and densities of 28 bird species were tested to determine whether riparian habitats influenced bird communities. Total bird density and species richness showed no riparian influence. Acadian flycatchers and Louisiana waterthrushes were closely linked to the streams. Carolina wrens, American robins, and red-eyed vireos showed weaker but positive associations with the streams. Eastern wood-pewees, black-and-white warblers, pine warblers, worm-eating warblers, and scarlet tanagers demonstrated a negative association with streams.

A cluster analysis was used to group the 28 bird species into 5 assemblages based on their distribution among the sampling stations. The species were classified as belonging to the following assemblages: riparian, upland forest, mesic hardwoods, xeric forest, and mature hardwoods generalist. Logistic models were developed to predict the number of species in each assemblage that were present and the presence of each species at each station based on the habitat characteristics at the site. Regression models were developed to predict the relative abundance of each assemblage and species at occupied stations.