Bird species richness and individual species densities were measured in wetland complexes in 1998. These values were then related to habitat variables within the complexes and to area of wetland habitat in the surrounding landscape. The percentage of wetland area within a complex that was covered with emergent vegetation and the total area of wetland habitat in the 3 km surrounding each complex were significant predictors of species richness. A perimeter-to-area ratio was the most frequently selected variable for inclusion in species-density models, being selected for 8 of 15 models. Five species' densities were related to the percentage of the wetland area that was covered by emergent vegetation, and 4 densities were related to the area covered by weak-stemmed wet-meadow vegetation. Densities of 5 species, as well as the overall species richness, were associated with a measure of the amount of wetland habitat within a 3-km buffer surrounding the wetland complexes. This indicates that the presence and abundance of some wetland bird species may be influenced by the amount of wetland habitat nearby. Thus, programs that encourage restoration of tracts of land that contain multiple wetland basins should be emphasized to maximize benefits to the wetland bird community.
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Vol. 21 • No. 1