Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1992


Initially published in Park Science, Spring 1992, volume 12, number 2, p.12-13.

© 1992 National Park Service


The majority of the individual songbirds nesting in the deciduous forests of eastern North America migrate to the West Indies, Central America and South America during the winter. They typically spend more than six months in tropical winter habitats. Until recently relatively little was known about their habitat requirements during the winter, but increasing concern about declining pcpulations of many migratory songbirds combined with widespread alarm about the rapid destruction of tropical forests has led to a flurry of research on this subject (Terborgh, 1989; Askins et al. 1990). In 1987 we initiated a study of the ecology and behavior of migrants in the Virgin Islands, particularly in Virgin Islands NP on St. John. This study has not only yielded information about the winter ecology of migratory birds, but also about the distribution of resident species and (unexpectedly) the impact of a major hurricane on bird populations.



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.