Two Hooded Plovers chicks hatched at Point Impossible, Torquay on January 27 2017, with only one surviving the first week.
This little guy is now starting its long fight for survival before fledging the nest.
Hooded Plovers are listed as vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 and have one of the longest incubation and nesting periods of any shorebird.
The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee, in partnership with BirdLife Australia and local Friends of the Hooded Plover Surf Coast volunteers are working around the clock to ensure beachgoers stay clear of the breeding areas to give the birds the best chance of survival.
Great Ocean Road Coast Environment and Education Manager Katie Dolling said without the assistance of trained volunteers and staff to be the hoodies eyes and ears, these little birds have less than a 2.5% chance of survival from egg to fully fledged adult.
“Hooded Plover chicks spend up to 35 days on the beach before they reach flying age. The long time on the beach puts these birds in a vulnerable position as they are unable to escape predators,” she said.
Hooded Plovers are easily distressed by humans and off leash dogs which can result in the parents and/or chicks becoming too frightened to feed or return to their nests.
Ms Dolling said it was unfortunate to see so many off leash dogs in the breeding area with dog prints extending right up to the nest.
“The chicks have been hiding above the high tide line to avoid the curious dogs, forcing them to forego food while people are in the area.
“The extra high tides this breeding season have further added complications to the hoodies survival,” she said.
Since 2010, only 12 chicks have survived from egg to adult on the Great Ocean Road Coast managed land despite ongoing efforts from land managers, BirdLife Australia, volunteers and community members.
“It is important we all help protect our endangered species from extinction and simple steps such as staying out of breeding zones, keeping dogs on leads and spreading awareness about the plight of the Hooded Plover all help,” Ms Dolling said.
The volunteer effort is led by BirdLife Australia, the body that coordinates the state-wide and national recovery of the Hooded Plover. For more information on Hoodies or to become a volunteer email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.birdlife.org.au/beach.
For local information on hoodies on the Surf Coast, visit www.facebook.com/savethehoodie.
*information accurate 1 February 2017