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Help give threatened shorebirds a chance

Four threatened shorebird species – hooded plover, little tern, and pied and hooded oystercatchers – nest in Eurobodalla, breeding on our beaches between August and March.

Eurobodalla Council’s natural resources supervisor Heidi Thomson said the broader community could take simple steps to help ensure breeding success for these vulnerable birds.

“These shorebirds don’t make the traditional bird nest – rather they lay in a tiny scrape in the sand,” Ms Thomson said.

“Even if the eggs aren’t destroyed before hatching, it’s still quite a mission for chicks to survive until they can fly.”

Ms Thomson said trampling by unsuspecting walkers or fishers looking for bait on sandbars could be a problem, especially during the peak summer season. Motorbikes and four wheel drives were another hazard.

“Off leash dogs are a particular problem for the chicks: The dogs chase the young birds, which often lack the strength to survive the encounter,” Ms Thomson said.

“The chicks are also eaten by foxes, ravens and feral cats. National Parks and Wildlife Service is undertaking fox control at some sites while Council is increasing ranger patrols in areas with threatened shorebirds to ensure dogs and vehicles are kept away.”

Sites where the threatened birds have nested include South Durras, the Batemans Bay marina, Coila Lake entrance, sand islands in the Tuross estuary, Wagonga Inlet, Handkerchief Beach, Mystery Bay and Wallaga Beach, as well as other national park locations.

Ms Thomson said National Parks and Wildlife Service shorebird volunteers monitor and help protect the nests and chicks by installing signage and wire fences around the nest areas at most locations.

“It’s so easy for beach goers to do their bit,” she said.

“Take note of information signs and act accordingly, keep clear of nest areas, and keep dogs under control.”

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