Modeling the Effects of Limiting the Number of Visitors on Failure Rates of Seabird Nests

Authors

  • COLIN M. BEALE,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Environmental and Evolutionary Biology, Institute for Biomedical and Life Sciences, Graham Kerr Building, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, United Kingdom
      Current address: RSPB Scotland, Dunedin House, 25 Ravelston Terrace, Edinburgh EH4 3TP, United Kingdom, email colin.beale@rspb.org.uk
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  • P. MONAGHAN

    1. Division of Environmental and Evolutionary Biology, Institute for Biomedical and Life Sciences, Graham Kerr Building, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, United Kingdom
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Current address: RSPB Scotland, Dunedin House, 25 Ravelston Terrace, Edinburgh EH4 3TP, United Kingdom, email colin.beale@rspb.org.uk

Abstract

Abstract: Most attempts to manage disturbance by visitors to nature reserves concentrate on limiting visitor access in some way, which is often unpopular with both visitors and managers. In a few nature reserves the daily numbers of visitors are limited, an action that need not necessarily reduce the total number of visitors. As a test of the assumptions that underlie this management practice, we examined the relationship between daily visitor numbers and daily failure rates of nests in two species of seabirds. Daily failure rates for Black-legged Kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) were weakly correlated with daily visitor numbers but indicated that capping daily visitor numbers slightly reduced overall breeding success. This was not the case for Common Murres (Uria aalge), where failure rate declined seasonally but was not significantly correlated with visitor numbers. For some species, it appears that capping daily visitor numbers may have small conservation costs.

Abstract

Resumen: La mayoría de los intentos de manejar la perturbación de visitantes de reservas naturales se concentran en limitar el acceso de visitantes de alguna manera, lo cual a menudo es impopular tanto para visitantes como para gestores. En unas cuantas reservas, el número de visitantes diarios es limitado, una acción que no necesariamente reduce el número total de visitantes. Como una prueba de los supuestos que subyacen en esta práctica de gestión, examinamos la relación entre el número de visitantes diarios y las tasas diarias de fracaso de nidos de dos especies de aves marinas. Las tasas de fracaso diarias de Rissa tridactyla se correlacionaron débilmente con el número de visitantes diarios pero indicaron que la limitación del número de visitantes diarios redujo el éxito reproductivo total ligeramente. Este no fue el caso de Uria aalge, en el que la tasa de fracaso declinó estacionalmente pero no se correlacionó significativamente con el número de visitantes. Para algunas especies, parece que la limitación del número de visitantes diarios puede tener pequeños costos de conservación.

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