Birds concentrated in riparian habitats are poorly sampled by traditional survey methods because of the difficulties associated with accessing these habitats. Our objectives were to test the effectiveness of river-based surveys to determine the status, distribution, and relative abundance for riparian bird species in Missouri and northern Arkansas, with special emphasis on Dendroica cerulea (Cerulean Warbler). Our canoe-based surveys revealed an average of 2.3 and 0.8 singing male Cerulean Warblers/river km along the Current River (128 river km surveyed), MO, and the Buffalo National River (96 river km), AR. Nonparametric estimates for repeated surveys of the same river stretches indicate that 69–79% of singing male Cerulean Warblers were detected. However, the bias associated with the estimate methodology and independent song rate data suggest those are conservative estimates. In comparison with land-based point-counts, this river-based protocol offers a quick and efficient assessment of Cerulean Warblers in riparian areas.
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