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Title: The effects of disturbance from roads on stone curlews in southern England
Author: Day, T.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2004
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Previous studies have found that a large number of bird species avoid nesting near to roads. This is true of the stone curlew, which was previously found to have a greatly reduced nest density near to major roads in England. The stone curlew has undergone long-term population declines and is one of the most threatened breeding birds in the UK. It is important to understand if disturbance from roads has an effect on the population size and why they avoid it if the conservation importance of this issue is to be assessed. Using a model of local nest density on arable farmland on suitable soils, in relation to proximity of three road types in the same analysis, nesting stone curlews were found to significantly avoid motorways and trunk A (MT) roads in each year of the period 1985 - 2000, except for 1989. Non-trunk A (A) roads were significantly avoided in most years B (B) roads were significantly avoids in each year from 1996 to 2000. Throughout , MT roads were avoided more strongly than A roads, which were avoided more strongly than B roads. Avoidance of MT roads increased through time but that of the other two road types did not. Traffic on MT roads increased more rapidly through time than that on A roads. During the study period the stone curlew breeding population size increased. Juvenile, one-year-old and older bird survival decreased neither through time nor with increasing population size. Breeding probability for one-, two- and three-year olds decreased neither through time nor with increasing population size. Productivity decreased neither through time nor with increasing population size. There was no significant effect of road proximity on egg size, nest success, chick growth rate, chick survival or adult survival. There was a higher proportion of less-competitive than strongly-competitive breeding stone curlews near to roads. Natal dispersal of those born near to major roads was not greater than that of those born further away. Those that bred near to MT roads dispersed significantly further to their breeding site in the subsequent year.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available