Give nesting birds a fighting chance this summer

DOC Biodiversity Ranger Jamie Quirk says New Zealand dotterel, banded dotterel and variable oystercatcher nesting sites in this region are in coastal areas, around rivers and streambeds from Hicks Bay to Mahia.

“As more people are enjoying the outdoors this increases the chance of disturbances at these nesting sites.

“Users of off-road vehicles continue to be the main concern along with gravel extraction, visitors and dogs.

“We want people to avoid these nesting sites where possible,” says Quirk.

Dotterel will nest anywhere from the high tide mark to the base of dunes or on riverbeds. They lay two or three eggs in nests which are well camouflaged and therefore easily crushed by unsuspecting beach users. Variable oystercatchers breed in pairs and lay two to three eggs in nests which are usually simple scrapes in the sand.

You can help in the protection of shorebirds by keeping:

  • below the high tide mark
  • noise to a minimum and not getting too close
  • to marked tracks and paths wherever possible
  • dogs on a leash
  • vehicles off beaches and sandspits

Fishers can further reduce their impact by being sure to take old fishing line home with them for safe disposal.

Mr Quirk says these are small and effective measures to give these birds a fighting chance this breeding season.

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