Bart et al (2004a) proposed several approaches for enhancing the considerable value of the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS). Sauer et al. (2005) critiqued some of these approaches, and emphasized alternative goals for the survey. We agree with many of the suggestions of Sauer et al. (2005); notably that multispecies, large-scale surveys such as the BBS are most valuable for bird conservation if they achieve multiple objectives. Nevertheless, we strongly assert that estimation of long-term trends is of fundamental importance for identifying important conservation issues and determining which species represent priorities for conservation efforts, as has been repeatedly demonstrated in the past. We are confident that our recommendations for enhancing the ability of the BBS to detect trends—reducing bias, explicitly recognizing that all bias cannot be eliminated, and increasing sample size in poorly covered areas—can only enhance, and not detract from, the value of the BBS for other purposes.
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Vol. 69 • No. 4