CIE Spotlight: Up the creek with a paddle; avian flight distances from canoes versus walkers

Mike W.

Mike W.

Title: Up the creek with a paddle; avian flight distances from canoes versus walkers

Authors: Glover, Hayley K.; Guay, Patrick-Jean; Weston, Michael A.

Source: WETLANDS ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT, 23 (4):775-778, AUG 2015

Brief summary of the paper: Disturbance of birds by human activities is increasing and is of conservation concern. Little is known of the flight initiation distances (FID) of birds to recreational canoeing, although this activity is common and can occur in wetland areas inaccessible to vehicle or pedestrian traffic.

We compared the FID evoked by a walker with that evoked by a canoe for 13 birds in wetlands in north–western Queensland.

Canoes evoked shorter FIDs compared with walkers (means ± 95 % confidence intervals; 32.9 ± 7.6 m and 47.5 ± 7.4 m, respectively).

These data could be used to establish buffers or codes of conduct for canoeists in wetlands in arid northern Australia, especially when water levels are low.