ASA 125th Meeting Ottawa 1993 May

4pAB4. Effects of aircraft noise on time-activity budgets of wintering black ducks.

John T. Conomy

Zoology Dept., North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC 27695

Jaime Collazo

W. James Fleming

North Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC 27695

The primary goal of this study was to determine if the time-activity budget (TAB) of wintering black ducks (Anas rubripes) was significantly altered by military aircraft noise at the U. S. Marine Corps target range in Piney Island, North Carolina. Sound levels were measured concurrently with behavioral observations. Over a sampling period of 81 days, exceedances >80 dB occurred on 289 occasions, the mean duration of exceedances was 5.09 s, and the mean sound pressure was 85.7 dB. Black ducks spent between 0.2% and 0.5% of their time reacting to aircraft. Correspondingly, the energetic costs of these reactions were low. TABs of black ducks in the high noise environment of Piney Island were within the expected range of those in low noise environments based on published literature. In a follow-up study, captive black ducks were subjected to simulated jet noise at levels approximately those recorded in the field. Measured levels of reactions to noise stimuli indicated that ducks habituated within 1 day. These results suggest that low reaction levels recorded in the field reflect the species' habituation capabilities to some kinds of disturbance. [Work supported by USMC and USAF.]