Are vehicles 'mobile bird hides'?: A test of the hypothesis that 'cars cause less disturbance'

Guay, Patrick,, McLeod, Emily,, Taysom, Alice, and Weston, MA, 2014, Are vehicles 'mobile bird hides'?: A test of the hypothesis that 'cars cause less disturbance', Victorian naturalist, vol. 131, no. 4, pp. 150-156.

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Title Are vehicles 'mobile bird hides'?: A test of the hypothesis that 'cars cause less disturbance'
Author(s) Guay, Patrick,
McLeod, Emily,
Taysom, Alice,
Weston, MA,ORCID iD for Weston, MA,
Journal name Victorian naturalist
Volume number 131
Issue number 4
Start page 150
End page 156
Total pages 7
Publisher Field Naturalists Club of Victoria
Place of publication Melbourne, Vic.
Publication date 2014-08
ISSN 0042-5184
Keyword(s) flight-initiation distance
motorised transport
Summary We tested the 'cars cause less disturbance' hypothesis by comparing the flight-initiation distance (FID) evoked by a car versus a single walker for 38 species of waterbird (n = 657 standardised approaches). For the 15 species where we had sample size adequate for statistical testing (n ≥ 5), we found that cars elicited shorter responses after controlling for starting distance. Within-species analyses revealed that this difference was significant in 8 of 15 species. Although mean FIDs for car approaches were always shorter than FIDs toward single walkers in the remaining species (7), the tests in those species lacked sufficient power to draw meaningful conclusions. Our results provide support for the hypothesis that birds respond to cars at shorter distances. The wide taxonomic breadth of species investigated suggests that this principle may be broadly applicable, at least in waterbirds. The results of this study and the FID estimates we present will allow development of meaningful stimulus-specific buffer zones to protect waterbirds from disturbance.
Language eng
Field of Research 060201 Behavioural Ecology
Socio Economic Objective 960506 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Fresh
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2014, Field Naturalists Club of Victoria
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