Bart et al. (2004) develop methods for predicting needed samples for estimation of long-term trends from count survey data, and they apply these methods to the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS). They recommend adding approximately 40% more survey routes in the BBS to allow for estimation of long-term (i.e., 20 year) trends for a collection of species. We critique several aspects of their analysis and suggest that their focus on long-term trends and expansion of the present survey design will provide limited benefits for conservation because it fails to either enhance the credibility of the survey or better tie the survey to regional management activities. A primary innovation claimed by Bart et al. (2004) is the incorporation of bias in estimation in study planning. We question the value of this approach, as it requires reliable estimates of range of future bias. We show that estimates of bias used by Bart et al. (2004) are speculative. Failure to obtain better estimates of this bias is likely to compromise the credibility of future analyses of the survey. We also note that the generic analysis of population trends that they provide is of questionable validity and is unlikely to be relevant for regions and species of management concern.
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