Do birders harm the birds they love?

Wildlife based recreation (e.g. photography, birding, ecotourism) is among the fastest growing forms of recreation in the United States. Recreation wildlife watchers can affect wildlife behavior in a variety of way. I am interested in quantifying the impacts of recreational activities associated with wildlife based recreation. I have been working with student Ryan Blazer and professor Dr. Pat Magee Western State College of Colorado to investigate the impacts of birders at a Gunnison Sage-Grouse lek in the Gunnison Basin of western Colorado. In addition, I am interested in determining the impacts of playback, a method employed by birders to lure birds into view using audio recording of the species, on nesting success and territory establishment and maintenance.