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Forest-Dependent Birds of the Great Cypress (North pocomoke) Swamp: Species Composition and Implications for Conservation

Christopher M. Heckscher
Northeastern Naturalist
Vol. 7, No. 2 (2000), pp. 113-130
Published by: Eagle Hill Institute
DOI: 10.2307/3858646
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3858646
Page Count: 18
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Forest-Dependent Birds of the Great Cypress (North pocomoke) Swamp: Species Composition and Implications for Conservation
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Abstract

The Great Cypress Swamp Conservation Area (GCSCA) comprises the largest contiguous forest on the Delmarva Peninsula (>5000 ha). An avian inventory using a fifty-meter fixed-radius point count method was undertaken during the nesting seasons of 1996 through 1998 to determine species composition, relative abundance, and frequency of breeding forest birds. Seventy-three species were found to comprise the breeding-season avifauna of this natural area including 14 warblers. Seven of the ten most abundant species were neotropical migrants. The Worm-eating Warbler and the Brown-headed Cowbird were the most abundant and most frequently encountered species, respectively. Several birds of local conservation concern were found, including two regionally rare species: Swainson's Warbler and Black-throated Green Warbler. Two warblers previously known to breed here were not found during this survey: American Redstart and Northern Parula. Management of the GCSCA for forest birds should focus first on protection of extant populations and secondly on restoration. Comprehensive systematic inventories of large areas of contiguous forest should be considered a high priority for biologists concerned with the regional conservation of species of concern.

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