We studied the effects of habitat composition and distance from edges on nesting success and brood parasitism of forest birds in the Kaskaskia River Bottoms, one of the largest remaining tracts of floodplain forest in the agricultural Midwestern United States. Our goal was to help the private landowners, who have maintained this region in forest cover, enhance the value of these forests for nesting birds. We measured nest predation rates and levels of brood parasitism of four species, the indigo bunting Passerina cyanea, Acadian flycatcher Empidonax virescens, northern cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis and prothonotary warbler Protonotaria citrea in relation to distances from natural and anthropogenic edges and proportion of natural and anthropogenic habitats within fixed radii around nests. We predicted that nesting success would increase with increasing distance from anthropogenic habitats and with increasing land cover in natural habitats. Our results showed no strong effect of any of these variables on avian nesting success, although parasitism levels increased slightly with increasing proportion of agricultural land around nests for two of the species. Nevertheless, nesting success for at least three of these species was much higher than in more fragmented forest tracts elsewhere in the agricultural Midwest where most forest tracts appear to be population sinks for most species. These results suggest that forest tracts in the Kaskaskia may be saturated with nest predators and brood parasites, but are not super-saturated in a way that would cause these tracts to become ‘black hole’ population sinks. Our data further suggest that, as long as landowners maintain their private landholdings in forest cover, the details of how they manage their land may have little effect on songbird nesting success. These results also suggest that reforestation efforts in areas with many openings may still benefit forest birds.