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Title: Long-term variation in the winter resident bird community of Guanica Forest, Puerto Rico: lessons for measuring and monitoring species richness.

Author: Faaborg, John; Dugger, Katie M.; Arendt, Wayne J.;

Date: 2007

Source: J. Field Ornithol. 78(3):270–278,

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: Because the winter season is potentially limiting for migratory birds, understanding their nonbreeding distributional patterns is essential. At a given site, patterns of species occurrence and abundance may vary over time and, within a species, wintering strategies may vary with regard to the degree that individuals are site-faithful both within and between winters. We examined long-term patterns in the composition of a winter resident bird community to determine how long a site must be studied to understand the wintering community. Over a 34-yr period of constant-effort mist netting at a site in Guanica, Puerto Rico, we captured 21 species of winter resident birds, with mean total captures varying from 8.3 to 18.9 individuals per net line and 6.14 species captured per year. Species richness capture/recapture models generated numbers similar to actual capture rates. Capture and recapture data allowed us to categorize winter residents into three groups: sporadic winter residents (14 species), regular winter residents (four species captured nearly every year), and dominant winter residents (three species captured each year with high rates of recapture). Our results suggest that sampling for at least three consecutive winters is needed to accurately characterize the bird community at a site. However, sampling for 5 yr is better, and 10-yr samples generate patterns similar to those based on our entire 34-yr sample. A 1-yr sample provides minimal information about the composition and characteristics of a winter resident bird community.

Keywords: mist netting, Neotropical migrants, Puerto Rico, species richness, winter residents, Guanica

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Faaborg, John; Dugger, Katie M.; Arendt, Wayne J. 2007. Long-term variation in the winter resident bird community of Guanica Forest, Puerto Rico: lessons for measuring and monitoring species richness. J. Field Ornithol. 78(3):270–278,


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