First Hoodies hatch at Point Turton
26 October 2020
Yorke Peninsula’s first Hooded Plover chicks for the 2020/2021 breeding season have hatched at Point Turton Esplanade.
Three tiny new arrivals were discovered on 15 October, much to the relief of seasoned BirdLife Australia volunteer Nanou Cabourdin.
“I was as anxious as a grandparent expecting their first grandchild,” said Ms Cabourdin, who has volunteered at Point Turton for the past four breeding seasons.
“I’ve seen these vulnerable birds make so many attempts to raise chicks and witnessed their many setbacks. Until last year when we had three fledglings, no chicks had survived on this beach in the previous three years.”
Four nests have already failed at Point Turton this breeding season, so there are high hopes that this batch of babies will make it to the fledgling stage, when they can fly away from predators and other threats. Their expected fledgling date is 19 November.
Janet Moore from the Northern and Yorke Landscape Board said large banners had been installed on the beach near the Hooded Plovers’ foraging grounds but encouraged beach goers to look out for the chicks, which are highly mobile and don’t always remain in the same area.
“From the moment they hatch, the chicks have to find their own food at the water’s edge and can easily fall prey to dogs not on leads or an accidental mishap with a beach goer,” she said. “Or if they have to go into hiding for too long they are susceptible to dehydration and starvation.”
Beach goers can help by keeping dogs on leads and walking or driving near the water’s edge, not above the high tide line where Hoodies nest.
In addition to the four nesting pairs at Point Turton, there are many other nests along Yorke Peninsula’s beaches, with a host of volunteers keeping a watchful eye on the eggs and crossing their fingers and toes for more chicks soon.
If you would like to support the Hooded Plover’s plight on Yorke Peninsula, the Northern and Yorke Landscape Board is keen to recruit volunteers for the Hooded Plover Biennial Count in November. Coordinated nationally by BirdLife Australia, the count helps record numbers of the small threatened coastal bird. For more information, contact Landscape Officer Janet Moore via email.
The intensive fox and feral cat control program delivered by the Northern and Yorke Board during the past 15 years as part of the Baiting for Biodiversity and Marna Banggara project is reducing threats posed to nesting Plovers.
Marna Banggara is a collaborative project led by the Northern and Yorke Landscape Board, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and the South Australian Department for Environment and Water, WWF Australia and Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife.