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Oh, not those jet-ski things again!

If motorboats were bad for nesting birds, jet skis promise to be worse.

Personal watercraft, both the stand-up and sit-down styles, disrupt breeding colonies even more than boats chugging by, says Joanna Burger of Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J. She watched common terns nesting on an island in Barnegat Bay, N.J. As watercraft roared past, she kept track of how many birds became alarmed and soared into the air. Other studies have linked frequent alarms to declines in breeding.

The New Jersey channel was posted for "no wake," but Burger recorded plenty of fast, noisy traffic. She found that the birds reacted most dramatically early in the breeding season.

In these periods, a personal watercraft zipping by would send some 200 birds flapping into the air, more than six times as many as a motorboat passing. In the August CONDOR, Burger recommends that personal watercraft not be allowed within 100 meters of nesting colonies.
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Title Annotation:research indicates personal watercraft distract breeding colonies of nesting birds more than boats
Author:Milius, Susan
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Aug 15, 1998
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