A recent scientific study undertaken on Fraser Island found that motorized traffic is the prime agent of disturbance to birds on ocean beaches.
Below is the abstract from the paper ‘’Human recreation alters behaviour profiles of non-breeding birds on open-coast sandy shores’’ By Schlacher, TA; Nielsen, T; Weston, MA. Published in ESTUARINE COASTAL AND SHELF SCIENCE (Volume: 118 Pages: 31-42 FEB 10 2013.)
Overall, this study demonstrated that motorized traffic is the prime agent of disturbance to birds on these beaches, resulting in frequent and time-consuming escape behaviours. These findings also emphasize that management of vehicle-based recreation on beaches needs to be re-aligned to meet conservation requirements in addition to providing leisure opportunities in National Parks and beyond; we identify some salient issue for this development:
- encouragement of social norms that promote environmentally benign beach use not involving motor vehicles
- creation of spatial refuges for beach wildlife from traffic and other non-compatible uses, and
- investment in developing complementary management actions such as effective set-back distances.