Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Alert distance as an alternative measure of bird tolerance to human disturbance: implications for park design

  • Esteban Fernández-Juricic (a1), María Dolores Jimenez (a2) and Elena Lucas (a1)
Abstract

Animal tolerance to human approaches may be used to establish buffers for wildlife that can minimize the probability that animals will be disturbed by human activity. Alert distance (the distance between an animal and an approaching human at which point the animal begins to exhibit alert behaviours to the human) has been proposed as an indicator of tolerance mainly for waterbirds; however, little is known about its utility for other bird species. The factors that influenced alert distances of four bird species to pedestrian approaches in five large wooded fragments in the city of Madrid (Spain) were analysed. Location of human activity affected only Passer domesticus alert distances, which increased in the proximity of pathways. Habitat structure modified alert distances of all the species (Passer domesticus, Turdus merula, Columba palumbus, and Pica pica), increasing bird tolerance with greater availability of escape cover (shrub and coniferous cover, and shrub height). Alert distances varied among species, with large species being less tolerant of human disturbance than small ones. Alert distance appears to be a more conservative indicator of tolerance than flight distances, because it includes a buffer zone (the difference between alert and flight distance) in which birds may adapt their reaction to the behaviour of visitors. Alert distance may be used in the determination of minimum approaching areas, allowing people to enjoy their visit to parks, and birds to use patches for foraging and breeding without being displaced.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Correspondence: Dr Esteban Fernández-Juricic, Department of Zoology, Oxford University, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK e-mail: estebanfj@yahoo.com
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Environmental Conservation
  • ISSN: 0376-8929
  • EISSN: 1469-4387
  • URL: /core/journals/environmental-conservation
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed