Hoodies hatch! Babies at Pt Impossible

Three vulnerable Hooded Plover chicks have hatched at Point Impossible over the weekend, making them the first chicks to hatch on the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) managed land this year. Read more

Its a hoodie life (and some incredible hoodie facts)

Did you know that without active management, Hooded Plovers (aka ‘hoodies’) only have a 2.5% chance of survival from egg to adult?  Or that hoodies breed as a pair, with both male and female taking turns to incubate the eggs? Read more

#SaveTheHoodie and Win!

Local businesses Ghanda Clothing Torquay and Go Ride A Wave (GRAW) have thrown support behind the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee’s (GORCC’s) #SaveTheHoodie campaign to encourage protection of the threatened Hooded Plover during their 2015/16 breeding season. Read more

Volunteers prepped for Hoodie arrivals

Volunteers are gearing up for another busy Hooded Plover breeding season as the threatened shore birds begin to pair up and get ready to nest.

Volunteer group Friends of the Hooded Plover Surf Coast (FHPSC) will be working around the clock to protect nests and chicks again this year, monitoring nesting sites during breeding season.

FHPSC Regional Coordinator Sue Guinness said volunteer wardens would be working to educate beach users about the vulnerability and breeding habits of the ‘hoodies’ to improve the awareness in the community.

FHPSC Regional Coordinator Sue Guinness and GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale observing hoodie nesting sites along the beach.
FHPSC Regional Coordinator Sue Guinness and GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale observing hoodie nesting sites along the beach.

“We hope the community supports our efforts to help the chicks survive on the coast this breeding season.

The FHPSC group encourages the community to be actively aware of the impacts they have on chick survival.

“It would be fantastic to see humans, dogs and Hooded Plovers all using the same beach and coexisting together, and to do that we need to be aware of the risks we pose to these vulnerable birds.

Ms. Guinness said Hooded Plovers nest in high traffic areas during the busiest time of the year, making it difficult for chicks to survive without community effort.

A recreated Hooded Plover nest demonstrates how fragile and exposed these tiny eggs are on the beach.
A recreated Hooded Plover nest demonstrates how fragile and exposed these tiny eggs are on the beach.

“We try to engage with the community near breeding sites when we are out monitoring to generate interest about the plight of our plovers.

“The easiest way to help us save these precious birds is to talk about them with friends and respect nesting areas,” she said.

During breeding season land managers such as the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee install signs to alert beachgoers to breeding zones, with regular breeding sites at Point Roadknight, Point Impossible and Moggs Creek.

FHPSC Regional Coordinator Sue Guinness and GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale dig in some hoodie shelters to help with chicks and adults survival.
FHPSC Regional Coordinator Sue Guinness and GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale dig in some hoodie shelters to help with chicks and adults survival.

Last breeding season was a record year for ‘hoodies’ on the Surf Coast, with 6 chicks fledging (surviving until they are able to fly).   Only 12 chicks have survived to fledging on the Surf Coast since 2010.

This season FHPSC, Birdlife Australia and GORCC are again working together to give the chicks their best chances of survival and are encouraging beachgoers to give ‘hoodies’ some space.

To get involved in ‘hoodie’ protection and become a volunteer, contact Birdlife Australia via email or visit their website for more information.

Anglesea PS celebrates the plight of the plover

The first annual Plover Appreciation Day was held by BirdLife Australia on September 16 to encourage people across the globe to honour the plight of the plover.

Grade 4-6 Anglesea Primary School students celebrated the day with variety on fun, educational Hooded Plover related activities hosted by the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC).

The vulnerable Hooded Plover was the focus of the day for Anglesea Primary School students as it nests on local beaches along the Surf Coast.

GORCC aimed to increase student’s awareness about the fragility of the Hooded Plover in breeding season through activities including colouring ins, and creating banners, masks.

GORCC used the sand box to highlight the importance of the our beach ecosystem for the Hooded Plover to nest along the coast.

GORCC Education Coordinator Pete Crowcroft said it was great to see the students getting involved in the different activities.

“Students were really enthusiastic about painting the banners to help increase awareness about how to save the Hooded Plover,” he said.

Click on the photos below to see some of the action from the day.

In conjunction with BirdLife Australia, GORCC is running a local #SaveTheHoodie campaign to encourage beachgoers to keep their dogs on leads and give hoodie chicks space to help ensure their survival. For more information about how you can help protect these vulnerable birds visit the Save The Hoodie website.

Interested in getting involved?  To volunteer contact BirdLife Australia at hoodedplover@birdlife.org.au.

Honour hoodies this Plover Appreciation Day

Hooded Plovers (aka ‘hoodies’) breed between September and March on our local beaches every year.   With only 12 chicks surviving on the Surf Coast between 2010-2015 (6 of those 12 fledging in just one season alone), these precious birds need our support to help ensure their survival.

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) works with the dedicated Friends of the Hooded Plovers (Surf Coast) volunteers and Birdlife Australia to protect the hoodies and ensure as many chicks as possible fledge (take flight).

This September 16 BirdLife Australia is celebrating the plight of the plover through the first ever Plover Appreciation Day.

The Day recognises all ground-nesting plovers including the vulnerable Hooded Plover that is often seen breeding on the Surf Coast.

cute birds
A pair of Hooded Plover chicks.  Image: Grainne Maguire

The aim is to raise awareness of the plight of ground-nesting plovers across the world and spread awareness about how everyone can help save them.

Along the Surf Coast, humans and dogs pose are one of the biggest threats to the Hooded Plover’s survival.  Unfortunately, Hoodies create nests on the beach during the busiest season on the coast, forcing them to share their breeding sites with thousands of beach-goers (and their dogs, vehicles, horses … ).

The breeding habits of the Hoodie mean they are in direct conflict with not only humans and dogs but introduced predators as well.  To make matters worse for the Hoodie:

  • They lay their eggs on beaches above the high tide level where people like to walk their dogs or lay out their towels.
  • Any disturbance from people or animals can drive the adult birds away from their nests and chicks.
  • The eggs are almost impossible to see, which makes them very easy to step on.
  • The chicks are tiny, fragile and defenceless making them very vulnerable to threats.

It is important that all beachgoers keep their distance from hoodie breeding zones and ‘give them space’.

Not sure where the hoodies breed? Click here to find out.

Photo: Dean Ingwersen
Hooded Plovers are medium-sized sandy-brown birds with a black hood and are currently listed as critically endangered in New South Wales and vulnerable in Victoria and South Australia. Photo: Dean Ingwersen

There a four main ground-nesting plovers in the spotlight this Plover Appreciation Day – the Hooded Plover, Red-Capped Plover, Spur Winged Plover and Black Fronted Dotterel. To learn more about the different types of plovers in Australia click here.

How can you get involved?

To help raise awareness of the Hooded Plover’s struggle for survival, follow these easy 3 easy steps.

1. Like Birdlife on social media

   Hooded Plover
   birdlife_hoodie
   @birdlife_hoodie

2. Download our Hoodie mask (either the wearable version or selfie stick version)
3. Upload a photo on social media using the mask to express what it means to be ‘vulnerable’

Make sure you use the hashtag: #vulnerablehoodies for your chance to win great prizes.

birdlife hoodie mask
Click here to download the Hooded Plover mask.

For more information on Hooded Plovers, head to the BirdLife Australia website or the MyHoodie website.

GORCC is running a local awareness #SaveTheHoodie campaign to encourage beachgoers on the Surf Coast to keep their dogs away from hoodie breeding zones and encourage everyone to ‘give them space’.  For more information vist the ‘Save The Hoodie’ website.

Interested in getting involved?  To volunteer contact BirdLife Australia at hoodedplover@birdlife.org.au.

Star single dad’s success

Two Hooded Plover chicks at Moggs Creek have overcome all odds and taken flight, a feat made even more impressive given they were raised by a single dad.

Four vulnerable Hooded Plover chicks on the Surf Coast have fledged after surviving the dangerous 60 days to fledging since 2010.

Hooded Plover chick
Hooded Plover chick

The chicks’ mother perished in what is thought to have been a dog, fox or cat attack earlier in 2015, while their sibling was taken by a fox.

The Hooded Plovers have one of the lowest survival rate of any species in the world at 2.5% and are listed as vulnerable under the Environment Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Act 1999.

Volunteers, Birdlife Australia staff and the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) team worked tirelessly to protect the precious little family, attempting to protect them from the many threats these beach-nesting birds face.

The 2015 breeding season is still in full swing, with one three-week-old Hooded Plover chick still battling to survive at Point Roadknight.

‘Save the Hoodie’ campaign signs have been installed across the Surf Coast in breeding zones, urging beachgoers to stay well away from nests and keep dogs out of these areas.

(L-R) American ecologist Tim Seastedt, GORCC conservation supervisor Georgie Bealse, American scientist Kathy Tate and Friends of the Hooded Plover Surf Coast volunteers Ethorne Mitchell and Mandy Mitchell
(L-R) American ecologist Tim Seastedt, GORCC conservation supervisor Georgie Bealse, American scientist Kathy Tate and Friends of the Hooded Plover Surf Coast volunteers Ethorne Mitchell and Mandy Mitchell keep predators away from the Hooded Plovers.

Friends of the Hooded Plovers volunteer Margaret MacDonald is thankful to the community for their cooperation over the breeding season.

“The birds have had to learn to live with a lot of people around in the holiday season and it has been fantastic to see everyone taking more care around the nests.

“People have been responding well to the information and have been very supportive of the work we are doing to protect the Hooded Plovers,” Ms MacDonald said.

The volunteers patrol the breeding sites for a month before the eggs hatch and then increase patrols 30 days after hatching to protect the chicks from predators.

“The chicks would not have survived without the volunteers support so it’s a great achievement by all.

This article was published in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast column.

For information about how to save of precious Hooded Plovers click here.

Have you entered the Save the Hoodie comptetition yet? Times running out! For more details click here