Sustaining Forest Interior Dwelling Bird Species Breeding Presence through the Maryland-DC Important Bird Areas Program
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The Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program is an international effort intended to identify, monitor, and conserve land areas most essential to support native bird populations. I investigated whether Forest Interior Dwelling bird species (FIDS) retained breeding presence over a twenty year period (1987-2006) within sites selected by the Maryland-DC IBA program at higher rates than across Maryland-DC external to those sites. I then examined at-risk FIDS and those that declined in presence across Maryland- DC during that period more closely. Species demonstrating greater persistence within the Important Bird Area (IBA) sites would indicate they have been appropriately selected to support their long-term viability. My analysis leverages the Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA) survey data taken during two five year periods twenty years apart (1983-87 and 2002-06) to compare changes in species breeding presence and assemblage richness between IBA and non-IBA areas of the Maryland-DC region. I found evidence that FIDS in decline during this period benefited from the IBAs more than FIDS in general, and that several of the at-risk FIDS species in greatest decline persisted at statistically significant higher rates inside the IBAs. I did not find evidence that the FIDS assemblage overall persisted at a higher rate inside IBAs.