Hooded plover (Thinornis rubricollis), walking on shore at low tide, Tasmania
Hooded plover (Thinornis rubricollis), Tasmania (photograph: Geoff Jones, Barra Imaging)

Community urged to protect shorebird habitat

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The Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) is calling on the community to help protect vital shorebird habitat at the start of the bird breeding season.

“It is critical we are all aware of the dependence the birds have on these shared habitats and avoid disturbing them during this sensitive time of their life cycle in Spring and early Summer” PWS Director of Operations John Lloyd said.

Simple tips include walking on the wet sand away from breeding areas and following signage about where dogs are allowed, where you can take your dog for a walk on-lead, or where dogs are allowed off-lead.  Driving vehicles on beaches is another activity that should be avoided to minimise disturbance and help ensure the breeding success and survival of shorebirds.

Through its Discovery Ranger and community engagement programs, PWS works with numerous partner organisations to deliver shorebird education throughout the year. This includes teaming up with Break O’Day and Glamorgan–Spring Bay councils to educate beach goers during this time. 

In recent years these education blitzes have been successful in places like the Scamander River Bird Sanctuary Area which has become a safe breeding zone for Little Terns, Fairy Terns, Hooded Plovers, Pied Oystercatchers and Red-capped Plovers.

Mr Lloyd said it was important for people to know that disturbance by humans and dogs close to breeding areas may result in nests being abandoned or eggs and chicks dying. 

“Plover chicks will take refuge in the dunes when people and dogs are on the beach, where they may be separated from their parents and perish,” he said. “These species need the Tasmanian community and visitors to support their survival.”

Published 19/10/2020