Comparisons of bird abundances among years or among habitats assume that the rates at which birds are detected and counted are constant within species. We use point count data collected in forests of the Mid-Atlantic states to estimate detection probabilities for Neotropical migrant bird species as a function of count length. For some species, significant differences existed among years or observers in both the probability of detecting the species and in the rate at which individuals are counted. We demonstrate the consequence that variability in species' detection probabilities can have on estimates of population change, and discuss ways for reducing this source of bias in point count studies.
Additional publication details
Federal Government Series
Point count length and detection of forest neotropical migrant birds
General Technical Report
U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest Experiment Station.