Re: Walking the dog is bad for birdlife

Subject: Re: Walking the dog is bad for birdlife
From: "Chris Sanderson" <>
Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2007 16:36:41 +1000
Now this is more my kind of discussion.

A proof of transient effect is a step forward here.  Then you need to start
looking at the cumulative effects of dog walking in high use areas.  I think
you'll find this is still an interesting finding in that humans by
themselves didn't have the same effect as humans and dogs.  I'm also curious
as to the implications for breeding birds - a nest is fixed at one spot so
the impact of disturbance could be greater than at other times of year.  And
of course there are the more active types of disturbance in wetlands, which
I imagine is a different story to this woodland based study.


On 9/13/07, Andrew Taylor <> wrote:
> On Thu, Sep 13, 2007 at 11:23:57AM +1000, Chris Sanderson wrote:
> > I think those defending dog walking are missing the point of the
> original
> > research.  The claim wasn't that any individual outing caused harm
> > specifically.  The research was showing that, over the course of time,
> birds
> > were less likely to use an area that dogs had been walked through.
> No, the research looked at transient effects.  They surveyed birds over a
> 250m transect 10 minutes after the treatment.  The treatment was either
> walker(s), walker+dogs on leads or nothing (control).  They used 90
> sites in the "urban fringe woodland of the Hornsby-Berowra-Cowan region".
> Some sites were frequented by dog walkers (in theory leash-only) and
> at some of their  dog walking was not normally permitted.  They also
> compared 2 humans to human+dogs.  In all cases they found significant
> extra disturbance from leashed dogs.
> They did not examine effects beyond 10 minutes, but they note there was
> no difference in bird diversity or abundance between the areas where
> dogs were permitted & dogs not permitted suggesting little long-term
> effect from dog-walking in this region.
> A well-controlled experiment (like this) looking at long-term effects
> of dog walking would be a lot of work.
> Andrew
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