Buses, Cars, Bicycles and Walkers The Influence of the Type of Human Transport on the Flight Responses of Waterbirds
AuthorMcLeod, EM; Guay, P-J; Taysom, AJ; Robinson, RW; Weston, MA
Source TitlePLoS One
PublisherPUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE
University of Melbourne Author/sMcLeod, Emily
AffiliationVeterinary and Agricultural Sciences
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsMcLeod, E. M., Guay, P. -J., Taysom, A. J., Robinson, R. W. & Weston, M. A. (2013). Buses, Cars, Bicycles and Walkers The Influence of the Type of Human Transport on the Flight Responses of Waterbirds. PLOS ONE, 8 (12), https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0082008.
Access StatusOpen Access
One way to manage disturbance to waterbirds in natural areas where humans require access is to promote the occurrence of stimuli for which birds tolerate closer approaches, and so cause fewer responses. We conducted 730 experimental approaches to 39 species of waterbird, using five stimulus types (single walker, three walkers, bicycle, car and bus) selected to mimic different human management options available for a controlled access, Ramsar-listed wetland. Across species, where differences existed (56% of 25 cases), motor vehicles always evoked shorter flight-initiation distances (FID) than humans on foot. The influence of stimulus type on FID varied across four species for which enough data were available for complete cross-stimulus analysis. All four varied FID in relation to stimuli, differing in 4 to 7 of 10 possible comparisons. Where differences occurred, the effect size was generally modest, suggesting that managing stimulus type (e.g. by requiring people to use vehicles) may have species-specific, modest benefits, at least for the waterbirds we studied. However, different stimulus types have different capacities to reduce the frequency of disturbance (i.e. by carrying more people) and vary in their capacity to travel around important habitat.
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