Impact of human activity on foraging flocks and populations of the alpine chough Pyrrhocorax graculus

DELESTRADE A.



Abstract:

The Alpine Chough Pyrrhocorax graculus is a social corvid which uses food provided by tourist activities in mountain regions (e.g. at ski stations, refuse dumps, picnic areas). In order to determine the impact ofthe human food supply on the Alpine Chough, foraging flock size and distribution were studied in a tourist region in the Northern French Alps between 1988 and 1992. Alpine Chough attendance at tourist sites was closely related to human activities. Activity rhytbrn was influenced by human presence on picnic area in summer. Relations to human activities held at a seasonal scale (such as opening of a ski station) but not at a daily time scale (such as weekend). Long term trends of Alpine Chough populations since intense tourist development at altitude are discussed with regard of flock size counts recorded at a same site before and after intense tourist development.