Lifes beach but not so much for Hoodies

We’re half way through the breeding season and finally getting some great weather, so while the crowds are flocking to the beaches please remember they are home to one of our most vulnerable beach nesting bird, the Hooded Plover.

There is nothing quite like enjoying a hot summers day down at the beach, whether it be sunbaking on the sand, splashing by the waters edge or some beach cricket with mates. We all have different ways of unwinding and realaxing but please remember while you are enjoying yourself care-free there are other beach users that can find this time very stressful.

It’s breeding time for the Hooded Plovers and they need all the help they can get. While they are quite small and can go relatively unnoticed it is very easy for them to be disturbed by people and their pets without the people even realising.

There are nesting enclosures set up for the birds at many of our beaches; however this isn’t the only space they need. Hoodies need to get themselves and their chicks to the waters edge to feed so they can successfully raise a family.

For now, we have some great news! We have recently had a fledgling of two chicks out at Ventnor and San Remo, these are the first successful for the season for Bass Coast. We also have some promising chicks on the beaches in Cape Paterson which still need our help to make it all the way.

There are also quite a few nests on the beaches, so keep an eye out for signs and keep well clear.

With only 500 left in the wild, getting as many chicks to the flying stage is critically important to their survival. Australia has one of the worst extinction records in the world, and we all must do our part to preserve our wonderful wildlife.

People can help the Hooded Plovers have a successful breeding season by undertaking the following:

· Avoid using beaches known to be used for Hooded Plover breeding

· Walk close to the water’s edge

· Keep an eye out for and obey signage and barriers put up for the protection of the birds

· Keep your dog on a leash at all times and off the beach during ‘no dogs’ times. For details on restrictions please see the website

· If you wish to let your dog run free, please use the designated off-leash areas that are around the Shire.

· Report any incidents to 1300 BCOAST (226 278) or (03) 5671 2211

There are many people working hard over the summer period to assist breeding success of the Hooded Plover. This includes volunteers from Friends of the Hooded Plover – Bass Coast and Hooded Plover Watch, and land managers including Bass Coast Shire Council, Phillip Island Nature parks and Parks Victoria.

It would be great if beach users could also act to help the survival of this endangered species.

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