Retention of riparian buffers is a common management practice used to protect streams from the effects of upslope forest harvest. We compared bird use of riparian buffers along main stem rivers, tributary streams, and reference riparian zones having intact, upslope forests. Community composition differed considerably between buffers and references, and also between main stems and tributaries. Density of the more common species (those detected >20 times) was significantly higher along main stems than along tributaries. Four species (bay-breasted warbler, black-throated green warbler, blue jay, Cape May warbler) were more abundant along main stems than along tributaries; no species was more abundant along tributaries. The overall density of less common species was significantly higher in buffer strips than in reference sites, but four of the more common species (bay-breasted, blackburnian, black-throated green, and Cape May warblers) were more abundant in reference sites than in buffer strips. We did not detect differences in species diversity or richness among the different site types, but edge-species were significantly more common in buffer strips than in reference sites. Interior-species, in contrast, were significantly more common in reference sites.
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Vol. 141 • No. 1