Neotropical migrants are birds that breed in North America and winter primarily in Central and South America. Long-term population studies of birds in the Eastern United States indicated declines of some forest-dwelling birds, many of which winter in the Neotropics (Peterjohn and others 1995). These declines were attributed to loss of wintering and breeding habitat due to deforestation and fragmentation, respectively. Many species of Nearctic migrants--birds that breed in the northern regions of North America and winter in the Southern United States--are also experiencing population declines. Because large areas of undistrubed, older, bottomland hardwood forests oftern contain large numbers of habitat specialists, including forest-interior neotropical migrants and wintering Nearctic migrants, these forests may be critical in maintaining avian diversity.
This study had two primary objectivs: (1) to create a baseline data set that can be used as a standard against which other bottomland hardwood forests can be compared, and (2) to establish long-term monitoring stations during both breeding and wintering seasons to discern population trends of avian species using bottomland hardwood forests.