Explaining disturbance to the public

I work on reaching out to target audiences – pilots, boaters and paddlers – about how to avoid disturbance to seabirds on the California coast. One of the big challenges is explaining why flushing birds can be a problem. For most people, seeing birds fly is normal – so when birds fly because people get close to them, it does not seem like a problem, or even a big deal. But causing birds to fly away can have big consequences when the birds in question are incubating an egg or protecting a chick. Making the link between birds flying and negative consequences is the first step in helping pilots, boaters and paddlers know to leave enough space for the birds to remain undisturbed. Have you found good ways to communicate the consequences of wildlife disturbance?

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