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Individual study: Higher level disturbance increases hatching success and nestling weight probably through habituation to human presence

Published source details

Gyuris E. (2003) An experimental investigation of the effects of human intrusion into breeding colonies of bridled terns Sterna anaethetus in the Great Barrier Reef. Pacific Conservation Biology, 9, 265-272


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Habituate birds to human visitors Bird Conservation

A replicated, controlled study from December-February in 1995-8 on rocky islets in Queensland, Australia (Gyuris 2003), found that bridled terns Sterna anaethetus on three high-disturbance sites had similar reproductive success to birds on two low-disturbance sites, but that intermediate-aged chicks from the disturbed sites were significantly heavier in one of two breeding seasons (average weight of 80 g for 12-13 day-old nestlings in the high-disturbance site vs. 80 g in the low). The author argues that this may be caused by birds habituating to humans faster at the heavily disturbed sites. High-disturbance sites were disturbed by ‘visiting’ (3-6 people, variable walking speeds and noise levels). Visitation was 3 continuous hours / week or 3 x 1 hours / week and disturbance regimes were rotated between plots. Low-disturbance sites experienced ambient disturbance during data collection and monitoring.