E€ffects of human approaches to nests of northern New Zealand dotterels

Andrea Lord a,b, Joseph R. Waas a,*, John Innes c, Mark J. Whittingham b

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Abstract
The northern New Zealand dotterel Charadrius obscurus aquilonius is an endangered shorebird, and it is thought that human
disturbance may decrease its nesting success. We made three types of approach to nests (walking, running or leading a dog). We
measured the ¯ush distance, length of time parents spent o€ the nest and distraction display intensity. Leading a dog caused the
greatest disruption of incubation, while responses to walking and running approaches did not di€er signi®cantly. Distraction dis-
play intensity appeared to be unrelated to approach type. There was evidence of habituation to humans on busy beaches. Our
results provide the ®rst experimental evidence that shorebirds perceive dogs as posing more of a threat than humans on foot, and
that their subsequent avoidance response is greater. We recommend that human activity, particularly the walking of dogs, should
be limited near nesting sites. Further study on causes of nest failure is required. # 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Disturbance; Nesting; Shorebirds; Endangered; Charadrius

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E€ffects of human approaches to nests of northern New Zealand dotterels by Te Arai Kete is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License