I calculated avian conservation scores, based on published quantitative assessment of bird presence (typically relative abundance) and regional Partners in Flight conservation concern score of each species. I related these avian conservation scores to severity of forest perturbation (i.e., % retention) and number of years since perturbation for forest stands within North America. I characterized avian response to perturbation by comparing avian conservation score on perturbed stands with that of paired unperturbed reference stands. Positive avian response to perturbation, representative of improved avian conservation status, was found when forest retention was >20% of coniferous forests or 25%–75% of hardwood forests. Positive avian response was greatest ~10 years after perturbation that retained 58% of conifer forests or 49% of hardwood forests. Increased avian conservation scores following perturbation may last for up to 23 years after perturbation but occur and diminish sooner with greater forest retention. Average annual avian response, over 23 years post-perturbation, was greatest when 30%–50% of hardwood stands were retained and when 50%–70% of conifer stands were retained.