Because of the importance of wetlands and because birds in urban and suburban wetlands are not well studied in relation to adjacent land cover, we estimated bird metrics within six suburban Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota (USA) marshes in late summer 2007, and we quantified land cover attributes within 500 m of the wetlands. Our surveys detected 24 species in the wetlands, including some not typically associated with wetlands. Bird species richness and diversity within wetlands were positively correlated with percent cover of trees and with cover of trees plus nontree vegetation near the wetlands, and they were negatively correlated with the cover of building footprints. Total bird detections during point counts were not correlated with vegetative aspects of land cover around the wetlands but were negatively correlated with cover of building footprints plus pavement within 150 m of the wetlands. Bird-land cover relationships were strongest when land cover within 200–500 m of the wetlands was considered and weaker when we considered only land cover within 25–50 m. Land use planning that both protects wetlands and emphasizes bird-friendly landscape design around wetlands may enhance avian diversity and abundance within the wetlands.
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