Re: Walking the dog is bad for birdlife

To: "Rex & Jan Fisher" <>, "Beth Symonds" <>, "Chris Sanderson" <>
Subject: Re: Walking the dog is bad for birdlife
From: "Peter Shute" <>
Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2007 10:04:28 +1000
 wrote on :

> I haven't rally followed this thread closely but wonder if we
> are looking at the right variables here, eg is it simply the
> dog or human or their behaviour, or the noise of their toys,
> the colour of their clothing etc? I saw nearly 100 species on
> a walk I used to regularly do in Brisbane and the diversity
> and bird behaviour at any period never seemed to change
> whether I was with my dog or not. Obviously there are places
> such as roost or breeding sites where it would seem obvious
> that minimal disturbance would be advisable (but also taking
> account of the fact that the presence of "natural" predators
> is probably important for ecological balance - unless of
> course that balance has been thrown way out of kilter by
> human interference) but we need to very careful about
> extrapolating from such findings.

But did you let your dog off the leash?  If so, did it rush into the
shrubbery at every opportunity?  If not, then obviously if would have
less impact than if either occurred.  And it might also depend on how
many others did the same thing.  And who knows, perhaps someone doing
the same walk behind you each day might see less species than someone
who preceded you (who might see more than you, although 100 seems pretty

We do need to be careful how we interpret these studies, but we need to
be careful about countering them with anecdotal, uncontrolled personal
experiments too.

Peter Shute

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