Vacswim students go on ‘a hoodie adventure’ to help protect vulnerable birds

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Vacswim students go on ‘a hoodie adventure’ to help protect vulnerable birds

Vacswim children learned more than just water skills over the summer, with 40 children taking part in an endangered hooded plover educational program at three popular beaches across Kangaroo Island.

The program was presented by Natural Resources Kangaroo Island (NRKI) and was aimed at raising awareness about how to share the beach with these vulnerable birds.

NRKI Ranger, Adele Macphee, said that summer beach goers were provided an opportunity to learn about hooded plovers and how to share the beach with them to protect and increase the survival of their chicks.

“The hooded plover breeding season coincides with the busiest tourist and beach recreation time on KI,” Ms MacPhee said.

“There are only 200 hooded plovers left on Kangaroo Island so it is very important that we raise awareness of their endangered status and encourage locals and visitors to protect nests and breeding pairs.”

Children took part in A Hoodie Adventure, a giant beach board game that taught players about hooded plovers and how we can help to ensure they fledge the nest and survive to adulthood.

“Children learned that if they’re at the beach during breeding season, they should walk close to the water away from the dune edge and keep any dogs on a lead,” Ms MacPhee said.

“We set up a mock hooded plover nest to illustrate just how good the birds are at camouflage and to show children how easy it can be to accidently tread on a nest or chick if they are not careful.”

Recent visitors to Vivonne Bay would have seen signage and ropes protecting a pair of hooded plovers and their nest. With the support of the community it is hoped that the pair will successfully hatch one or more small chicks and rear them safely.

NRKI Project Officer for Coasts, Danny Male said that the results of a recent island-wide community survey of hooded plovers showed that the species had another successful breeding season on KI.

“Thanks to the help of over 50 volunteers we managed to count 143 adult and 59 juvenile hooded plovers over one weekend,” Mr Male said.

“We are lucky to have many secluded and undisturbed beaches around the island that provide ideal conditions for this species to breed.

“These survey results indicate that the breeding success rate on KI is more than twice that found in the South East of South Australia, showing again how important the island is for the future success of this species.”

The education program is a joint initiative between the local KI community, NRKI and Birdlife Australia. For more information about hooded plovers or to help with initiatives to protect them, such as the Biennial Hooded Plover Survey in November, please visit the sea and shorebirds page through the NRKI website or visit the natural resources centre at 37 Dauncey Street Kingscote.

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