Set minimum distances for approaching birds (buffer zones)
Overall effectiveness category No evidence found (no assessment)
Number of studies: 0
Background information and definitions
Disturbance by people on foot or in vehicles can reduce birds’ use of habitats, or drive them into less favourable habitats. Preventing people from approaching birds too closely may help reduce disturbance. We found two studies that investigated the distances at which birds were disturbed by people: one found that people on foot disturbed birds at greater distances than people in boats (Rodgers & Smoth 1995); the second found that different species reacted differently to disturbance (Rodgers & Schwikert 2002). Both recommended buffer zones of between 100 and 180 m around breeding or feeding birds.
Rodgers, J.A. & Smith, H.T. (1995) Set-back distances to protect nesting bird colonies from human disturbance in Florida. Conservation Biology, 9, 89–99.
Rodgers, J.A. & Schwikert, S.T. (2002) Buffer-zone distances to protect foraging and loafing waterbirds from disturbance by personal watercraft and outboard-powered boats. Conservation Biology, 16, 216–224.