Plover season breeds hope on Copper Coast
Seven Hooded Plover chicks have now fledged on the Copper Coast this breeding season, with a further three chicks hatching at Moonta Bay on Tuesday (21/2).
Natural Resources Northern and Yorke staff and Friends of Hooded Plover volunteers are thrilled with the results, following a difficult start to the season after the September storms destroyed several nests.
Natural Resources Northern and Yorke Community Ranger Janet Moore said this year’s success is a direct result of volunteer efforts which are helping to bring the species back from the brink of extinction.
“Three chicks hatched at popular Simms Cove on Christmas Day, during the peak of summer visiting period - possibly at the worst time as far as disturbance goes,” Ms Moore said.
“Volunteers anxiously followed their fate, visiting the family every day for six weeks until they fledged, talking to beach goers and updating a progress board for the community to follow the chicks’ development.”
“In the past three years only four chicks on the Copper Coast have survived the crucial first five weeks on the beach to fledge their nests.
“The community and visitors have contributed enormously to this season’s success by obeying the signs, walking their dogs on a leash, and giving the chicks plenty of space to feed,” Ms Moore said.
Chicks have fledged this season at Moonta Bay, Simms Cove, Johnson’s Cove and by the Port Hughes Jetty.
The three chicks that hatched this week at Moonta Bay now have five critical weeks ahead of them as they start to roam the beaches to find food before they can fly.
Numbers of the small shorebirds have been declining across southern Australia as they struggle to find undisturbed spaces on the beach to breed, resulting in an extremely high nesting failure rate and an unsustainably low population growth.
The monitoring of Hooded Plovers is a Naturally Yorke project.
If you are interested in joining the Friends of Hooded Plover volunteers, or would like further information, please contact Natural Resources Northern and Yorke 8841 3444.