Effects of low level military training flights on wading bird colonies in Florida

Black, Barbara and Collopy, Michael W. and Percival, H. Franklin and Tiller, Anita A. and Bohall, Petra G. (1984) Effects of low level military training flights on wading bird colonies in Florida. Gainesville, FL, Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Florida, (Technical Report - Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, 7)

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Abstract

During 1983 and 1984 the effect of low level military training flights on the establishment. size and reproductive success of wading bird colonies was studied in Florida. Based on the indirect evidence of colony distributions and turnover rates in relation to military areas (training routes designated to 500 feet or less above ground level and military operations areas). there was no demonstrated effect of military activity on wading bird colony establishment or size on a statewide basis. Colony distributions were random with respect to military areas and turnover rates were within 2% when military and non-military areas were compared. Colony distributions and turnover rates, however. were related to the amount and type.Les tuer-tne or freshwater) of wetland. respectively. During two breeding seasons the behavioral responses and reproductive success of selected species were monitored in a non-habituated treatment colony (military overflights) and a control colony (no overflights). Breeding wading birds responded to F-16 overflights at 420 knots indicated airspeed. 82-84% maximum rpm. 500 feet above ground level and sound levels ranging from 55-100 dBA by exhibiting no response. looking up or changing position (usually to an alert posture): no productivity limiting responses were observed. High-nesting Great Egrets responded more than other species, nestling Great Egrets and Cattle Egrets responded significantly (r <.05) more intensely than adults of their respective species, and adults responded less during incubation and late chick-rearing than at other times. In addition, no differences in adult attendance, aggressive interactions or chick feeding rates were observed to result from F-16 overflights. No evidence of habituation to overflights was noted. Humans entering the colony or airboats approaching the colony vicinity elicited the most severe responses (flushing and panic flights) observed at both sites. Since relatively little coastal military activity occurs at low levels ( ~500 ft) and only one Brown Pelican colony (5-6% of the breeding population) was located in such an area, the reproductive success of five, more lIexposedll study species (Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Tricolored Herons, Little Blue Herons, Cattle Egrets) nesting in interior freshwater colonies was studied. Reproductive activity including such factors as nest success, nestling survival, nestling mortality, and nesting chronology was independent of F-16 overflights but related to ecological factors including colony location, colony characteristics and climatology. The responses to and effects of F-16 overflights, as reported here, should not be considered representative of military aircraft at lower altitudes or greater noise levels. (194 pages)

Item Type: Monograph or Serial Issue
Title: Effects of low level military training flights on wading bird colonies in Florida
Personal Creator/Author:
CreatorsEmail
Black, Barbara
Collopy, Michael W.
Percival, H. Franklin
Tiller, Anita A.
Bohall, Petra G.
Series Name: Technical Report - Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Number: 7
Date: 1984
Publisher: Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, FL
Issuing Agency: Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Additional Information: Prepared for the U.S. Air Force through the Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit by the Department of Wildlife and Range Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Uncontrolled Keywords: wading birds; aircraft
Subjects: Conservation
Biology
Policies
Item ID: 970
Depositing User: Stephanie Haas
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2008 21:44
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2011 21:18
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/970

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