National workshop highlights plight of hooded plovers in the south-west

 Toni Ryan (left) from Tower Hill, and James Smith, from Port Fairy, with Dr Grainne Maguire, from Birdlife Australia.

Toni Ryan (left) from Tower Hill, and James Smith, from Port Fairy, with Dr Grainne Maguire, from Birdlife Australia.

THE south-west’s contribution to halting the decline of the hooded plover has been highlighted at a national workshop in Warrnambool about beach-nesting birds.

Birdlife Australia’s beach-nesting birds project manager Dr Grainne Maguire said a big volunteer effort to protect the nests of the vulnerable birds had allowed 25 chicks from nests along the coast between Warrnambool and Yambuk to survive this year.

The survivors included one chick from a nest at Lady Bay and two from nests at Logans Beach. 

Dr Maguire said the good survival rate along the local coastline was the best achieved in Victoria during this year’s breeding season and had helped stop the decline of the bird’s numbers in the state.

More than 30 local volunteers placed signs on beaches asking people to stay away from nests found on beaches, or roped off the nest sites.

Dr Maguire said the local effort also included a lot of awareness-raising with schoolchildren and others in the community about the threat to the hooded plovers.

The campaign to save the hooded plover was “one of the few examples where people were making a difference”, she said.

She said 115 people from throughout Victoria, South Australia, NSW and Tasmania attended the national workshop that was held on Friday and Saturday.

Those attending included a mix of volunteers and representatives of government conservation agencies and local government. 

The workshop also highlighted the part played by beach-nesting birds in the overall beach environment.

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