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Avian reactions towards human approaches in different urban greenery structures in Nanaimo

By M. Campbell

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Urban green spaces are vital for human quality of life and urban avian ecology. In consequence, these areas attract cutting edge research on human/animal relations and the human roles in avian foraging grounds. However, few studies of bird reactions to human presence have included bird adaptation and attraction to human behaviour. More commonly, studies focus on structured, human approaches to subject birds, and consequent avian reactive distances (alert and flight distances and alert periods). This study of green spaces in Nanaimo, Canada, examines the less studied factors for bird reactive behaviour, including the more complex human behaviours such as hand waving, bird anticipation of feeding, passerine and non-passerine bird behaviour and non-feeding human presence. It also tests the hypothesis that bird species size, greater vegetation height, more open vegetation and road and path distance increase avian reactive distances. Consistent with established theory, longer alert and flight distances resulted from larger species size and proximate tree stands, but inconsistent with published hypotheses, taller vegetation, and less dense shrubbery were not sufficient predictors of avian reactive distances. Inconsistent with other findings, larger species were also more attracted to humans than smaller species, and anticipatory perching for human provided food balanced with the alert periods between the alert and flight distances. Most species had shorter reactive distances in human presence and were either significantly more likely to forage in human presence or showed no correlation with human presence or absence. The results of this study contribute to current knowledge of bird reactions to human presence and behavior in variable urban green spaces.

Date 2016
Publication Title Urban Forestry & Urban Greening
Volume 19
Pages 47-55
ISBN/ISSN 1618-8667
Publisher Elsevier
DOI 10.1016/j.ufug.2016.06.022
Author Address Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Dr, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada.ecol55@hotmail.com
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal ecology
  2. Animals
  3. APEC countries
  4. Birds
  5. Canada
  6. Commonwealth of Nations
  7. Developed countries
  8. Ecology
  9. Forestry
  10. North America
  11. OECD countries
  12. trees
  13. United States of America
  14. urban areas
  15. vertebrates
  16. Wild animals