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1 September 2003 Urban Lakes and Waterbirds: Effects of Development on Avian Behavior
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Abstract

The need to understand how wildlife responds to the broad-ranging impacts of development is becoming increasingly important as human populations around the globe continue to increase and urbanize. We studied waterbird behavioral associations with developed and undeveloped shorelines on four partially developed urban lakes in central Florida. Summer observations revealed that wading birds foraged significantly more along developed shoreline, and that ducks rested and tended young significantly more along developed shoreline. Winter observations revealed that marsh birds foraged significantly more along undeveloped shoreline but displayed active/swimming behavior significantly more along developed shoreline. Summer ducks and winter wading birds showed significantly greater alert/flee behavior along undeveloped shoreline. Ducks in both seasons showed significantly greater alert/flee behavior than other guilds. For all guilds, alert/flee behavior was seen 1.6 times more often in the winter. Winter migrants did not show greater alert/flee behavior than resident birds. Results show that a wide range of waterbirds can use urban lakes during the breeding and non-breeding seasons, and that many birds appear to favor developed shorelines for a variety of behavioral patterns. However, dense stands of tall emergent vegetation along undeveloped shoreline may limit waterbird behavior along this shoreline. The heightened alert/flee behavior observed along undeveloped shorelines may warrant the use of buffer zones to protect birds using these shorelines from undue human disturbance.

Ashley H. Traut and Mark E. Hostetler "Urban Lakes and Waterbirds: Effects of Development on Avian Behavior," Waterbirds 26(3), 290-302, (1 September 2003). https://doi.org/10.1675/1524-4695(2003)026[0290:ULAWEO]2.0.CO;2
Received: 3 March 2003; Accepted: 1 June 2003; Published: 1 September 2003
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