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Up the creek with a paddle; avian flight distances from canoes versus walkers

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Disturbance of birds by human activities is increasing and is of conservation concern. Little is known of the flight initiation distances (FID) of birds to recreational canoeing, although this activity is common and can occur in wetland areas inaccessible to vehicle or pedestrian traffic. We compared the FID evoked by a walker with that evoked by a canoe for 13 birds in wetlands in north–western Queensland. Canoes evoked shorter FIDs compared with walkers (means ± 95 % confidence intervals; 32.9 ± 7.6 m and 47.5 ± 7.4 m, respectively). These data could be used to establish buffers or codes of conduct for canoeists in wetlands in arid northern Australia, especially when water levels are low.

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Victoria University (VU) Fellowship and a Faculty of Health Engineering and Science Collaborative Research Grant Scheme to P.J. Guay funded this work. Data were collected under VU Animal Ethics Permit AEETH 15/10 and Deakin University Ethics Approval B32-2012.

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Correspondence to Michael A. Weston.

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Glover, H.K., Guay, PJ. & Weston, M.A. Up the creek with a paddle; avian flight distances from canoes versus walkers. Wetlands Ecol Manage 23, 775–778 (2015).

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