Data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey were used to estimate continental and regional changes in bird populations for the 5-yr period 1995-1999 and the 2-yr period 1998-1999. These short-term changes were placed in the context of population trends estimated over the 1966-1999 interval. During 1995-1999, 44% of all species exhibited positive trends over the entire survey area, while 44% of all species exhibited positive trends during 1998-1999; neither of these percentages differed significantly from 50%. The continental and regional percentages of species with positive trends were also analyzed for 12 species groups having shared life-history traits. Survey-wide for the entire survey period, grassland birds exhibited the lowest percentage of increasing species (19%). However, during 1995-1999 the declines were less extreme in the Central and Western BBS regions, with 49% and 36% of species increasing in these regions. Neotropical migrants continued to fare better than grassland birds in all regions, although in the Eastern BBS region only 30% of neotropical species had increasing trends during 1995-1999.