CIE Spotlight: Distance from shore positively influences alert distance in three wetland bird species

Mike W.

Mike W.

TitleDistance from shore positively influences alert distance in three wetland bird species

Authors: Dear, Emma J.; Guay, Patrick-J.; Robinson, Randall W.; Weston, Michael A.

Source: WETLANDS ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT, 23 (2):315-318, APR 2015

Brief summary of the paper: Behavioural responses of wetland fauna to humans constitutes a potential conservation threat, and may alter how animals use wetlands and their surrounds.

We predicted that the farther from refuge (i.e. water) that terrestrially foraging rails occurred, the longer the distance at which they would become alert when approached.

We found that the distance at which Eurasian Coot, Fulica atra, Purple Swamphen, Porphyrio porphyrio, and Dusky Moorhen, Gallinula tenebrosa became alert to an approaching predator (i.e. human) increased with distance from the shore of a wetland (species and starting distance were not significant but associated with low power).

Thus, these behavioural measures suggest these birds use water in wetlands as a refuge from potential threats such as people.