Wetland-riparian birds of the Mid-Atlantic region

Timothy J. O'Connell, Robert P. Brooks, Diann J. Prosser, Mary T. Gaudette, Joseph P. Gyekis, Kimberly C. Farrell, Mary Jo Casalena

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Wetland-riparian birds are conspicuous in the Mid-Atlantic Region (MAR), but sometimes use aquatic habitats beyond what is typical for waterfowl, waterbirds, and shorebirds. Over the past two decades, Riparia conducted studies to determine the importance of wetlands and riparian corridors as habitats for birds covering the range from obligate to facultative users. We sampled wetlands used by wood ducks and other waterfowl species common to the Appalachians. We surveyed lakes and their associated fringing wetlands and riparian edges in the glaciated Pocono region. Songbirds were sampled along human disturbance gradients from wetlands into adjacent uplands. In addition, our work developed and tested an innovative way to consider biodiversity through the component life history traits of species in communities-a guild-based approach. The quantification of differences in the life history composition of different communities led to the development of a class of ecological indicators called the Bird Community Index (BCI). In this chapter, we trace the development and application of the BCI and its derivatives, including a multi-metric Regional Index of Biological Integrity for forest riparian ecosystems (RIBI). The chapter progresses through studies of birds using wetland habitats, beginning with obligate species and progressing through facultative users. We conclude with a summary of projects and monitoring protocols that use the BCI for ecological assessment, and a description of emerging issues that make such assessments a conservation imperative for the MAR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMid-Atlantic Freshwater Wetlands
Subtitle of host publicationAdvances in Wetlands Science, Management, Policy, and Practice
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages43
ISBN (Electronic)9781461455967
ISBN (Print)1461455952, 9781461455950
StatePublished - Jul 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Environmental Science


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