Endangered bird breeding season begins


The Hooded Plover breeding season has commenced and BirdLife Australia is holding a workshop in Breamlea today to educate others about the endangered, beach-nesting birds and encourage everyone to play a part in their protection.

BirdLife Australia Beach-nesting Birds Project Officer Renée Mead said the annual workshop would raise awareness about the many threats faced by the vulnerable species, particularly during the breeding season, and add to the skills of existing volunteers.

Hoodie chick at Pt Roadknight 2012 Photo: Geoff Gates
Hoodie chick at Pt Roadknight 2012 Photo: Geoff Gates

“We want to ensure that participants have the required knowledge so that their volunteer work doesn’t become an added disturbance to the birds.

“The workshop is also a chance to thank participants and the community in general because the birds are doing well in this area due to their support,” she said.

Adult hooded plovers: Photo: Dean Ingwerson
Adult hooded plovers: Photo: Dean Ingwerson

Hooded Plover volunteer monitor Geoff Gates said the beachgoers can become part of the solution rather than the problem.

“It’s extremely important for beachgoers to understand how the Hooded Plovers behave throughout their nesting cycle.”

Mr Gates said the coastal users were often unaware of the small changes they can make to help protect the endangered species.

“Hovering near a nest can mean birds leave and do not return to incubate and breed successfully.
“It is also vital that dogs are not allowed in prohibited areas as they can easily run over fragile nests or attack the birds,” he said.

Hooded Plovers nest on the beach and their eggs are very vulnerable to multiple threats, including dogs, feral pests.  The eggs are small and humans can tread on them or scare away 'Hoodie' parents.
Hooded Plovers nest on the beach and their eggs are very vulnerable to multiple threats, including dogs, feral pests. The eggs are small and humans can tread on them or scare away ‘Hoodie’ parents.

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale said the birds are incredibly vulnerable when nesting, and relied on community awareness and cooperation for their survival.

“The birds nest over our busiest time of year between the high tide mark and sand dunes.

“It’s important to remember the local beaches are their home too and the way we use the beach has a serious impact on their hopes for survival,” she said.

While many of the threats to Hooded Plover breeding success are human in nature, the birds are also in danger from feral pests.

Ms. Beale recently discovered an abandoned nest Point Roadknight.

“There were fresh prints leading up to the nest and away from it including that of ravens, seagulls, dogs and foxes.

“It seems the Hooded Plovers had nested and the eggs were taken,” she said.

The Hooded Plover Workshop will be held on Wednesday September 10 from 9:45am. The day will include morning tea followed by a beach walk. For more information contact Birdlife Australia on (03) 9347 0757.

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