Authors:C. Wehenkel, A. Reyes-Martínez, J. H. Martínez-Guerrero, C. Pinedo-Alvarez, and C. A. López-Sánchez
Bird migration constitutes a redistribution of bird diversity that radically changes the composition of the bird community worldwide. It comprises about 19% of the world’s bird species. Several studies have indicated that changes in avian community structure and differences in bird richness in different seasons are mainly driven by seasonality and by winter harshness, and that the associated costs increase with the distance involved. Western Mexico is an important wintering area for most passerines that breed in western North America, and that travel long on the long-distance Central and Pacific migration routes. In this study, we examined bird species richness and diversity during the breeding and wintering seasons in the Central Sierra Madre Occidental (SMO), North Durango (Mexico) in relation to i) tree species diversity, ii) tree dimension, iii) forest stand density and site quality, iv) density and dimension of snag trees, and v) various climate variables. The overall aim of the study was to determine how the observed associations between bird species diversity and variables i-v are affected by the season considered (breeding or wintering). The diversity of bird species in the breeding season was not affected by any of the climate and forest stand variables considered. In contrast, bird species diversity in the wintering season was significantly and weakly to moderately associated with climate variables, tree species diversity and stand density, although not with density or dimension of snag trees. Bird species diversity was higher at lower elevations and in drier and warmer locations of the SMO. The association detected is therefore mainly a local migratory phenomenon.