In eastern North America, most early-successional woody habitats are ephemeral and succeed to forests within a few decades. Consequently, for shrubland birds patches of habitat are generally suitable for breeding for only a short time. This has led some authors to suggest that shrubland birds should show little fidelity to former breeding sites and frequently disperse to new, more suitable patches. Similarly, one would expect birds of mature forests to have greater site fidelity because their habitats are more stable. Understanding the dispersal strategies of shrubland birds has important implications for the management and conservation of these declining species. Therefore, I used meta-analysis to compare rates of site fidelity of migratory shrubland and forest passerines that breed in eastern North America. For adult birds, site fidelity of shrubland (estimate ± SE = 0.353 ± 0.022) and forest species (0.364 ± 0.036) was similar. Philopatry of yearling birds to their natal site was lower but similar for shrubland (0.048 ± 0.014) and forest birds (0.028 ± 0.019). I conclude that dispersal rates of shrubland birds are not unusually high. Rather, both forest and shrubland species appear to follow decision rules that are common to passerines, with adults frequently returning to former breeding sites and yearlings dispersing away from their natal sites. For management, these results are encouraging, as populations of shrubland birds should persist in highquality habitats maintained in an early-successional state.
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Vol. 111 • No. 2