McCrary, M. D., & Pierson, M. O. (2000). Influence of human activity on shorebird beach use in Ventura County, California. In Proceedings of the fifth California Islands symposium (pp. 424-427).
We studied the potential influence of human and dog activity on shorebird abundance at 13 sandy beaches in Ventura County, California. The 13 study beaches were randomly selected, and each beach was 1 km long. From June 1994 to May 1997, we counted all shorebirds, humans and dogs at each beach once per month for a total of 36 counts. We found no significant relationship between instantaneous counts of either shorebirds and human or dogs. However, there was a significant relationship among the 13 beaches between total shorebird and human use. The beaches with the greatest number of shorebirds (Ormond Beaches 1 through 3) were among those with the lowest number of humans. The results suggest that inaccessibility to humans may be an important aspect of shorebird habitat quality. Relatively undisturbed sandy beaches are quite rare in southern California, and the inaccessibility of the few remaining undisturbed beaches should be maintained.