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Dogs.Should they be allowed on nature reserves?

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Old Saturday 5th October 2019, 12:36   #1
sibilatrix
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Dogs.Should they be allowed on nature reserves?

My view is NO.They should not be allowed within the areas denoted as "Nature Reserves"..Dogs,are NOT "nature",they are NOT part of any ecosystem.Dogs in most cases are owned by people who have zero interest or care in nature.
They just want somewhere free where they can park their car,and let the dog do its filth everywhere,and if that means also chasing Geese in a field(yes),or diving in ponds where Black-necked Grebes breed(yes),but hey,at least they are getting the dog out so its ok?At least according to the RSPB.Im not knocking the RSPB but really it needs to have dog areas,near the car park maybe,and BIRD areas where mutts will be shot if found or something.
The one that annoys me is the weird "dogs are part of nature" attitude,many seem to have.No,Dogs are kind of Frankenstein creatures,that if they WERE part of nature,would,in fact,be WOLVES.Living in the forest,not running around disturbing birders.
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Old Saturday 5th October 2019, 12:46   #2
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Discussed at great length here, for your interest......https://www.birdforum.net/showthread...highlight=Dogs
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Old Sunday 13th October 2019, 20:56   #3
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Originally Posted by sibilatrix View Post
Dogs in most cases are owned by people who have zero interest or care in nature.They just want somewhere free where they can park their car,and let the dog do its filth everywhere,and if that means also chasing Geese in a field(yes),or diving in ponds where Black-necked Grebes breed(yes),but hey,at least they are getting the dog out so its ok?At least according to the RSPB.Im not knocking the RSPB but really it needs to have dog areas,near the car park maybe,and BIRD areas where mutts will be shot if found or something
Click bait.........
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Old Sunday 13th October 2019, 21:13   #4
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No way because most people cannot be bothered to keep them on a lead despite polite notices and a minority think it's ok to let them run wherever they want and chase whatever they want. Plenty of other places they can go.
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Old Sunday 13th October 2019, 23:33   #5
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The one that annoys me is the weird "dogs are part of nature" attitude,many seem to have.No,Dogs are kind of Frankenstein creatures,that if they WERE part of nature,would,in fact,be WOLVES.

https://twitter.com/ODowcett/status/...945071617?s=20


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Old Monday 14th October 2019, 14:34   #6
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No way because most people cannot be bothered to keep them on a lead despite polite notices and a minority think it's ok to let them run wherever they want and chase whatever they want. Plenty of other places they can go.
Not only that but signs banning dogs/asking owners to keep them on a lead regularly 'go missing' on some reserves I know ....
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Old Monday 14th October 2019, 15:17   #7
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I take mine from time to time on a lead to one or two reserves - the problem is non-birders with dogs really imo.

I see birds being flushed by photographers on and off Nature Reserves - i dont harass and flush any.....with or without my Dog.

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Old Monday 14th October 2019, 21:48   #8
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Do dogs do more harm than all the cats left to roam and hunt everywhere with zero responsibility placed on the owners, I find dead birds in the garden from neighbours cats frequently.
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Old Monday 14th October 2019, 21:52   #9
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Do dogs do more harm than all the cats left to roam and hunt everywhere with zero responsibility placed on the owners, I find dead birds in the garden from neighbours cats frequently.
I would say definitaly not but that does not make it ok re dogs
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Old Monday 14th October 2019, 22:10   #10
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How many Nature Reserves are purely "reserves" with no footpaths/foreshore access rights/agreements for public/common use etc?
Some...but not THAT many I'd suspect...
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Old Monday 14th October 2019, 22:17   #11
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I have to wonder at the mind set that suggests dogs should be shot if they stray on to a patch of land that happens to harbor a few birds.

Den
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Old Monday 14th October 2019, 23:32   #12
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I have to wonder at the mind set that suggests dogs should be shot if they stray on to a patch of land that happens to harbor a few birds.

Den
Because there are proven cases of dogs killing wildlife, and not just birds. Lots of wild mammals at risk, up to and including large deer. Also, they pose a potential threat to people. Any pet owner allowing his pets to stray into places where they have no business being, has only himself to blame. Especially if it's a reserve. And judging by the behaviour of dog owners I -and evidently, many others - have observed, the risk of the critter getting shot (and/or the owner getting fined) isn't nearly high enough.
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Old Tuesday 15th October 2019, 01:01   #13
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Just occasionally it works the other way - most common in UK is Mute Swans drowning dogs that go after their cygnets - so it's good sense for dog owners to keep their mutts under control
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Old Tuesday 15th October 2019, 05:09   #14
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Calm down Dears.....it’s only a Dog!

There is far more heat than light being generated here imo.

I am a Dog person and disturbance to ground-nesting birds during the breeding season would be an issue as would deliberate disturbance generally. I take mine down to my local puddle and do not let her away from the path that circuits the area and hold others to task if i see otherwise but if somebody throws a stick etc it really is no big deal. Millions of songbirds are killed by Cats every year and we all know about the issues of raptors and driven Grouse so let’s put things in perspective. In reality i see very few Dogs on the Reserves i visit and when i do they are generally on a public footpath and not on ‘Reserve only’ trails which are inevitably signposted accordingly.

There are idiots we all know that but as i have said - i see more disturbance to birds caused by overzealous birders and selfish photographers than i have ever seen from somebody walking their Dog and most (not me) birders tut-tutting about out-of-order behaviour from their fellow hobbyists do nothing about it - i blame it on the Soy-boy effect

Good birding -

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Old Tuesday 15th October 2019, 05:19   #15
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sibilatrix-

Though I agree with you generally about dogs in nature reserves, you could make your point more eloquently.

I find your mannerism exceedingly unpleasant and abrasive.
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Old Tuesday 15th October 2019, 05:57   #16
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He sounds a tad overzealous - the biggest impact on Nature Reserves are the people using them.....with or without a Dog. On the rare occasions i go to one, usually on my bike as i do not drive, the car park is full of.....well.....cars - examine your own impact on the environment whilst pursuing your hobby and stop obsessing about mans best friend..........if you like a friend that drinks out of the toilet that is

Good Birding -

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Old Thursday 17th October 2019, 11:42   #17
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Millions of songbirds are killed by Cats every year and we all know about the issues of raptors and driven Grouse so lets put things in perspective.
Nobody is denying that, however it's not the topic of the thread. We have a full forum section dedicated to cats. Also, driven grouse shooting doesn't even exist outside the UK and maybe Ireland. Dogs and illiterate dog walkers are a global issue.


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There are idiots we all know that but as i have said - i see more disturbance to birds caused by overzealous birders and selfish photographers than i have ever seen from somebody walking their Dog
Good for you. For me, it's the other way round, as is to be expected anywhere outside the UK and a few hotspots where birder density is very high. I'm sure if I lived on Heligoland or the Scilly islands, my experience would be similar to yours, but as it is, most people don't live in such places.


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and most (not me) birders tut-tutting about out-of-order behaviour from their fellow hobbyists do nothing about it
Because most of us have a daily life that's stressful enough and want to enjoy our hobby in peace and without having to confront antisocial elements, be they dog walkers or poorly adjusted birders/togs.


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i blame it on the Soy-boy effect
For someone calling for calm in the first sentence of your post, you seem remarkably quick to resort to flaming.
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Old Thursday 17th October 2019, 15:05   #18
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I believe that research has shown that human + dog-on-lead causes more disturbance to birds than a human alone and that human + dog-not-on-lead causes significantly more disturbance than either (and this rises further when it involves several dogs). Since nature reserves cover a tiny % of the land in the UK then making them a dog-free zone would still leave ample space for people to walk their pets elsewhere. As suggested above, of particular concern are those who walk multiple dogs (esp. [un]professional dog walkers). You simply can't keep an eye on 3-4 dogs at once. At one reserve I know I've seen one such walking up to ten(!) dogs mostly off leads and without sufficient surveillance. Walk along almost any foreshore with public access and it doesn't take long to see dog owners who allow their mutts to disturb or even chase birds. In Kent, this is such a problem that an organisation has been set up to deal with the issue (see https://birdwise.org.uk). I think most of us know sites where one has to keep your eyes on the ground checking for dog mess almost as much as looking around for birds. Since a significant proportion of dog owners routinely ignore signs and have little or no awareness of the disturbance allowing dogs free-range does having our nature reserves at the very least a no-go zone seem like a no-brainer to me. I'm tempted to go further and suggest they should only be allowed off the lead in designated areas.
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Old Thursday 17th October 2019, 16:01   #19
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Since RSPB reserves are already no-dogs (obviously they can't enforce that on public rights of way but they can deal with dogs not under control and therefore off the path) I'm not entirely clear what is being proposed here? What policy do country trusts follow?

Most local nature reserves are under council control, don't have full time wardens and are mostly dual purpose plus, with water bodies having fishing and even boating to cause disturbance and worse before any irresponsible dog walkers wander by.

Of course, everybody is ignoring the existence of natural canine predators everywhere except the British Isles.... what between wolves, jackals etc birds are pretty used to being kept on the jump by canids. What we could do with is more bigger dogs taking out feral cats. I have no use for handbag dogs.

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Old Thursday 17th October 2019, 17:26   #20
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Of course, everybody is ignoring the existence of natural canine predators everywhere except the British Isles.... what between wolves, jackals etc birds are pretty used to being kept on the jump by canids.
The difference is density - for every wolf at natural population density (about 5 wolves per 100 sq. km from one study I found), there's probably about a thousand to ten thousand dogs, at least in urban / suburban areas. So a bird that might get scared off by a wolf once every few months, is instead having to put up with dozens of scares every day. Some birds (e.g. Jackdaws) get used to it - but others, most typically the birds that birders like to see (e.g. Green Sandpipers), don't.
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Old Thursday 17th October 2019, 19:45   #21
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The difference is density - for every wolf at natural population density (about 5 wolves per 100 sq. km from one study I found), there's probably about a thousand to ten thousand dogs, at least in urban / suburban areas. So a bird that might get scared off by a wolf once every few months, is instead having to put up with dozens of scares every day. Some birds (e.g. Jackdaws) get used to it - but others, most typically the birds that birders like to see (e.g. Green Sandpipers), don't.
Of course. Most every problem comes down to what are the relative concentrations.
If there were 100 times more birds or 1/100 the number of cats and dogs then their impact would be much less of an issue.

I love dogs but they are not part of any ecosystem. John's analogizing dogs to foxes, wolves, coyotes, jackals and so on is false IMO. Dogs are a fabrication and therefore an extension of man. Same for cats.
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Old Thursday 17th October 2019, 20:16   #22
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The difference is density - for every wolf at natural population density (about 5 wolves per 100 sq. km from one study I found), there's probably about a thousand to ten thousand dogs, at least in urban / suburban areas. So a bird that might get scared off by a wolf once every few months, is instead having to put up with dozens of scares every day. Some birds (e.g. Jackdaws) get used to it - but others, most typically the birds that birders like to see (e.g. Green Sandpipers), don't.
Yep, that's why I mentioned jackals as well (Coyote the equivalent in North America). I didn't mention various felids, mustelids, raptors, ambush-type snakes etc.

A state of nervous tension in relation to predators of all types is a constant for birds of various sizes. And you underestimate Wolves' effects in some ways: they are perfectly capable of harvesting eggs from ground nesting birds and will be much less bothered than e.g. foxes by any mobbing: a Snow Goose, for instance, will not be facing off with a Wolf as it might with an Arctic Fox. It will have to abandon or be certainly killed. Most domestic dogs are far too daft and their instincts far too damaged to effectively undertake similar actions.

In urban areas the density of dogs is immense but it quickly drops outside towns. And there are always a lot more fox-sized terriers etc than there are sub-Wolf-sized Rotties and Shepherds.

All that said, I still entirely endorse the exclusion of dogs from the vast majority of nature reserves - for some it just isn't possible. I also agree that even a dog on a lead is considered by birds more of a threat than a human alone: I could never convince my mother of that but I observed the different behaviours when her well-behaved and well-controlled dogs were with her out birding compared to when the dog wasn't there.

But you should be aware that there are ladies out there who consider male humans more of a threat, and feel able to go birding because faithful Rex is with them... how much of the territory we confident hairy blokes patrol do you wish to deny them?

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Old Friday 18th October 2019, 05:21   #23
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Sangahyando: thanks for your retorts but they are like just your opinion.....just like mine.

As for Cats - it’s a related problem but much worse, sorry if you are a Cat person.

As for ‘flaming’ - get a grip ffs - there’s precious little light-heartedness and take a chill pill.

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Old Friday 18th October 2019, 05:46   #24
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As for the RSPB: i will give you an example...

For many years, about a decade, i used to visit a large sand and gravel extraction pit about 30 miles away. I visited during April and May and again Sept thru October. This was obviously timed for migration. Due to the activities and scouring effect there was little in the way of breeding birds on the ever-changing wet bits. There were however LRP’s. I used to mark these with a stick and report them c/w a rough ‘Treasure Island’ type map to the quarry supervisor.

When this operation ceased, about 5 years ago, the RSPB bought it and with a lot of donated monies including the National Lottery iirc and established a huge reserve with Minsmere-type flashes. Access was made available, i and some others already had access, and paths, car park, electric fences, screens and a Normandy bunker type hide was erected.

Of course along came the No Dogs signs. Dogs are allowed but not beyond the areas where non-birders are likely to go. Lots of non-birders do access the scrapes and flashes area as the paths are very good. This has led to pushchairs and litter, sunbathing bikini-clad teenagers, overnight sleeping c/w alcohol and spliffs and a hide notebook full of puerile rubbish

But no Dogs.
Or birders with a Dog on a lead that used the place before the RSPB came to Town.....
Adjacent to the restricted Dog access wetlands at right angles is a well-beaten track that comes down from the nearby canal which is popular with passing boats particularly in the Summer. As everybody knows - narrowboats and Dogs go together! This ensures plenty of ppl stretching their legs and visiting this area of the reserve.....many with their dog(s). My observations reveal that most are never on a lead and i rarely, if ever, have seen a problem because boat owners (and i used to be one) are responsible people.

I used to enjoy taking my Dog to this area and there was never a problem. The RSPB have a major problem that is much worse than a Dog or Dogs. The Reserve is a designated flood overflow for the River Tame and the RSPB have been told that they cannot block excess water from entering the flood plain. There is plenty of meadow land that they could use to alleviate imo but nothing thus far. Increased Summer rains has now meant the Reserve has flooded during the breeding season 3 out of the last 5 years - indeed there are now flood mark indicators etched in the hide much like you see in quaint riverside pubs that are inundated with waterborne detritus and associated sewage regularly. This area ws bought as a sanctuary and the sight of hundreds of dead Gull chicks, plus waders, is now a frequently depressing one

But hey - no Dogs. I have decided i will revert to my MO of years ago and will now be taking my Dog to the Reserve as if i was a responsible boat owner Much like i did in the days before the RSPB ‘managed’ the place and birds actually bred there...

I will be accused of arrogance and selfishness but i judge my action to be the cause of zero problems and woe betide anybody who decides to lecture me.

Good birding -

Laurie
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Old Monday 21st October 2019, 14:08   #25
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I believe that research has shown that human + dog-on-lead causes more disturbance to birds than a human alone and that human + dog-not-on-lead causes significantly more disturbance than either (and this rises further when it involves several dogs). Since nature reserves cover a tiny % of the land in the UK then making them a dog-free zone would still leave ample space for people to walk their pets elsewhere.
You are correct, and there is now a lot of structured observational evidence from shorebird surveys to support this.
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