Hooded Plover count reveals steady rise on Yorke Peninsula
12 July 2021
Many years of dedicated conservation work by Yorke Peninsula volunteers has been rewarded with a 15% increase in Hooded Plover numbers within two years.
BirdLife Australia has released the results from its November 2020 Biennial Count, with 285 adult Hooded Plovers tallied on Yorke Peninsula beaches, an increase of 37 birds since the 2018 count.
“Looking at the numbers of adult birds on Yorke Peninsula, it is clear that there has been a slow and steady increase, which is fantastic,” said BirdLife Australia Beach-nesting Birds Project Coordinator Kasun Ekanayake.
“This growth can be attributed to better breeding success mainly during the past three years, thanks to the efforts of volunteers monitoring and implementing nest management at busy beaches. More beaches were surveyed during the 2020 count which also accounts for some of the growth in numbers.
“The intensive predator control program that’s part of the region’s Marna Banggara project could also be credited with contributing to these results, as foxes and feral cats are major threats.”
The Northern and Yorke Landscape Board, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, helps BirdLife Australia coordinate Yorke Peninsula’s volunteer program and biennial count. The count is part of a huge coordinated effort across eastern mainland Australia, where hundreds of volunteers survey the coasts of Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales during a weekend in mid-November.
Dr Ekanayake said Yorke Peninsula’s positive results were significant as this coastline was home to the largest regional population of Hooded Plovers across the three states.
“Conservation of the YP Hoodie population is important because it constitutes 37% of the entire SA population and 19% - close to a fifth – of the SA, Victoria and NSW population combined,” he said.
Volunteers will rally again in August as the birds find their mates and return to their breeding territories. Northern and Yorke Landscape Board Officer Janet Moore said it was vital to continue work to protect these vulnerable birds, which lay their eggs in exposed, shallow scrapes in the sand.
“Hoodies still face many threats and unfortunately accidental crushing of eggs and chicks due to human activity on our beaches remains a cause for concern. Installing signs and fencing around nest and chick sites is part of our volunteers’ important work. New volunteers are always welcome.”
The Marna Banggara project is jointly funded through the Northern and Yorke Landscape Board, the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, the South Australian Department for Environment and Water, WWF-Australia and Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife.