Conference for hoodie conservation


Current and future strategies for the protection of the endangered Hooded Plover were discussed at the Third National Beach Nesting Birds conference this month.

The BirdLife Australia beach nesting birds team (L-R) Renee Mead, Meg Cullen and Grainne Maguire.
The BirdLife Australia beach nesting birds team (L-R) Renee Mead, Meg Cullen and Grainne Maguire.

BirdLife Australia’s national conference attracted 150 attendees over two days and was held on 14 and 15 June in Queenscliff.

BirdLife Australia’s beach nesting birds program manager Grainne Maguire said the event featured a range of new speakers and provided inspiration and new ideas to volunteers and land managers.

“We covered a whole range of topics ranging from research to new methods for protecting the birds and an overview on how the program has progressed over time.

“This included insights into the birds’ movements and life histories which have been revealed through our banding activities.

“We also discussed the importance of the Mornington Peninsula National Park for the birds, dog access policies, coastal geomorphology and how weeds can lead to erosion problems.”

Ms Maguire said it was the best meeting to date because there was an interesting mix of attendees.

“Virtual communication is great to a limited degree but there is nothing better than getting together face-to-face,” she said.

Kai Barrett wearing a Hooded Plover mask at the conference.
Kai Barrett wearing a Hooded Plover mask at the conference.

Guests at the conference included a range of representatives from the Surf Coast including the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) conservation officer Georgie Beale.

Hooded Plovers are endangered in Victoria and GORCC works closely with BirdLife Australia and volunteers to ensure their survival on our local beaches.

Ms Beale said dog owners and walkers can help to protect the “hoodies” by ensuring dogs are on leashes and avoiding dog prohibited refuge sites.

“Hooded Plovers are an important indicator of the health of our beaches and everyone in the community can play a role in saving them from extinction.

“Observe the signs and fenced areas and stay well away from any ‘hoodies’ you seen on the beach.”

Ms Maguire said even a single sighting reported by a volunteer hoodie monitor can sometimes provide an important missing piece of the puzzle.

“This program gives people hope about what can be achieved in this world when everyone gets together on an issue. We are bringing these birds back from the brink of extinction and at the same time making sure our irreplaceable coasts aren’t damaged beyond repair. It’s awesome!”

To learn more about Hooded Plovers or to become a volunteer monitor contact BirdLife Australia hoodedplover@birdlife.org.au, or to help fund BirdLife Australia’s vital work visit www.savethebirds.org.au/.

This article appeared in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast Column.

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