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Tuesday, February 7 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. Flight Initiation Distances of Nesting Piping Plovers (Charadrius Melodus) in Response to Human Disturbance

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AUTHORS: Mary Bomberger Brown, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska; Joel G. Jorgensen, Nongame Bird Program, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission; Lauren R. Dinan, Nongame Bird Program, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

ABSTRACT: Flight initiation distances (FIDs) are often employed to inform appropriate buffer distances required for human exclusion zones used to protect birds nesting in anthropogenic landscapes. Piping Plovers (Charadrius melodus) are protected by the Endangered Species Act in the United States and often nest in areas also used by people for recreation, residence, or industry. Studies evaluating Piping Plover FIDs are limited and implementation of exclusion zones has been inconsistent across the species’ range. We measured Piping Plover response and FIDs to naturally occurring stimuli on public beaches at Lake McConaughy, Nebraska, USA. Piping Plover FIDs differed by stimulus class (vehicle, human, dog, human with dog), Julian day, and hour of day. Piping Plover FIDs were greatest for dog and human with dog compared to humans and vehicles. For all types of stimuli, Piping Plover FIDs decreased over the nesting season and increased slightly during each day.  When Piping Plovers left their nests, return times to the nest were relatively short (less than three minutes). These results suggest Piping Plovers become habituated to the presence of human-related stimuli over the course of a nesting season, but other explanations such as parental investment and risk allocation cannot be excluded. Improved guidance regarding the implementation of exclusion zones is needed so managers can implement effective protection programs in anthropogenic landscapes.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm CST
Lancaster Ballroom

Attendees (4)