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Preliminary quantitative data on behavioural responses of Australia pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus) to human approach on Penguin Island western Australia

Barter, M., Newsome, D. and Calver, M.C. (2008) Preliminary quantitative data on behavioural responses of Australia pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus) to human approach on Penguin Island western Australia. Journal of Ecotourism, 7 (2-3). pp. 197-212.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14724040802140543
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Abstract

The heightened popularity of islands amongst tourists along with increasing recreational activity on small nearshore islands has resulted in the need to acquire data on the potential effects recreational activities may be having on the breeding behaviour and ultimately the reproductive success of seabird colonies. This paper quantifies the differences in behaviour elicited from two colonies of Australian pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus) at two different stages of incubation on Penguin Island, Western Australia when approached repeatedly by a researcher. Three response indicators were chosen for comparison: (1) behaviour during an approach, (2) the pre-flight initiation distances; and (3) behaviour following an approach. Although preliminary, these data are strongly indicative of major behavioural changes by nesting pelicans in response to human approach. Observations also indicated that breeding Australian pelicans exhibited short-term habituation to human approach over both phases of the breeding season tested. Results from this study suggest that setback distances, that are designed to separate humans from Australian pelicans, should be precautionary, being based upon the longest pre-flight distance recorded during the most sensitive stage of the breeding season.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
Publisher: Taylor & Francis.
Copyright: (c) 2008 Taylor & Francis.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/801
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