We surveyed forest songbirds during migration in bottomland hardwood forest stands and managed cottonwood (Populus deltoides) plantations in northeast Louisiana and west-central Mississippi between 24 March and 24 May 1996 and 1997. We detected more bird species in bottomland hardwood stands than in cottonwood stands. Within hardwood stands, we detected more individuals in stands subjected to uneven-aged timber harvest than in unmanaged stands. Early in migration, avian species composition was similar in both forest types, being comprised mainly of short-distance migrants. Bird species composition in these forest types became increasingly disparate as long-distance neotropical-nearctic migrants arrived. Ten bird species were characteristic of bottomland hardwood forests, whereas eight different species were characteristic of managed cottonwood plantations. Because these two forest types supported different bird communities, both forest types provide important inland stopover habitat during migration. Silvicultural management of bottomland hardwood forests that increases their understory vegetation will provide forested habitat for a more species rich and abundant population of songbirds during migration.
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Spring bird migration in Mississippi Alluvial Valley forests