Fear is a concept comprising several dimensions, but the nature of these dimensions and the relationships between them remain elusive. To investigate these dimensions in birds, we have used two genetic lines of quail divergently selected on tonic immobility duration, a behavioural index of fear. These two lines differ in their behavioural response to some, but not all, fear-inducing situations. In the present study, we investigated the contribution of human intervention in the differentiation between the two lines. To do this, fear responses towards a novel object were compared between lines in three conditions: (1) in the home cage without any human intervention, (2) in the home cage after human handling and (3) after placement in a novel environment by human handling. Fear behaviour differed between lines after human handling, with or without placement in a novel environment, but presentation of a novel object in the home cage without any human intervention induced similar fear responses in the two lines of quail. These results lead us to suggest that in quail, human intervention evokes a dimension of fear that differs from that evoked by sudden presentation of a novel object, in that these two dimensions may be selected independently.