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In agricultural landscapes, much of the remaining forest is in linear tracts along streams. These riparian forests provide habitat for forest birds, but their use by forest interior birds may depend on forest width. We conducted point-count surveys of birds in riparian forests on the Eastern shore of Maryland and Delaware to assess whether the presence of any species was dependent on corridor width. We surveyed 117 corridors that ranged from 25- to 800-m wide. Several area-sensitive neotropical migrants were encountered more frequently in wider riparian forests, and probabilities of occurrence increased most rapidly between 25 and 100 m. Based on these surveys, we recommend that riparian forests be at least 100-m wide to provide some nesting habitat for area-sensitive species. Wider riparian forests would be preferable and should be preserved.
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Avian communities in riparian forests of different widths in Maryland and Delaware