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Initially published in Wilson Bulletin, March 1987, volume 99, number 1, p.7-21.

© 1987 Wilson Ornithological Society


Bird populations were monitored for 32 years in a 23-ha tract of hemlock-hardwood forest. Between 1953 and 1976 the total abundance of long-distance migrants declined significantly and four species disappeared, but after 1976 both the total abundance and the number of species increased. Multiple regression analysis shows that the abundance of long-distance migrants was negatively related to abundance of bird species characteristic of suburban habitats and positively related to the amount of forest within 2 km of the study area. The decline in long-distance migrants before 1976 occurred when suburban species were increasing and nearby forest was destroyed. The increase after 1976 is best explained by reforestation in the surrounding area because suburban birds were still increasing. A diversity of forest species, including many long-distance migrants, became established in the reforested areas. This pattern suggests that immigration from nearby forests is important in maintaining the abundance of long-distance migrants.




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