Beachgoers are urged to aid in the protection of the endangered Hooded Plover as the annual breeding season kicks off and a local pair gets ready to lay eggs.
The pair sighted on a beach near Anglesea has made a scrape (a simple depression in the sand used by the birds for nesting).
BirdLife Australia Beach-nesting Birds Project Officer Renee Mead said the scrape signals that the pair is close to laying their eggs.
“There have been no reports of eggs or chicks along the Surf Coast as yet, but pairs are starting to claim their breeding territories.
“Eggs have been reported on Thirteenth Beach on the Bellarine Peninsula and we expect the Surf Coast ‘Hoodies’ to have eggs any day now,” Ms Mead said.
The beach nesting birds typically breed from August to April each year and are very vulnerable to a range of predators and other threats, including accidental trampling by humans.
“We urge beach users to walk close to the waters’ edge and avoid the upper beach and dunes.
“This reduces the chance of eggs being crushed or chicks being accidentally stepped on,” Ms Mead said.
Great Ocean Road Coast Committee Conservation Officer Georgie Beale said beach users could help by looking for and heeding advisory signs installed along the coast.
“You can help protect the ‘Hoodies’ by ensuring that your dog is always on a leash on beaches where they have been sighted, by observing all signs and accessing the beach via defined paths,” she said.
With breeding season underway, more volunteers are required to aid in the protection of ‘Hoodies’ along the coast.
BirdLife Australia are holding a workshop 16 October at Queenscliff Primary School, Stokes St Queenscliff for anyone interested in becoming a volunteer ‘Hoodie’ monitor.
“The workshop aims to recruit new volunteers and also to prepare new information and activities for current volunteers.
“The day will give us a chance to chat with all the project participants before a (hopefully) busy breeding season.
“The event is an opportunity to discuss ‘Hoodie’ monitoring, public education campaigns, events and future directions for local management,” Ms Mead said.
Fore more information contact BirdLife Australia on 9347 0757 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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