Fragile and precious birds need space

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Red capped Plover

THE TWEED’S precious and endangered coastal birds are at risk of disappearing unless humans can give them the best fighting chance according to Tweed Shire Council.

Some people may not know that Tweed’s coastline is home some of Australia’s most rare coastal birds and other species that play a crucial role in the coast’s lifecycle.

However, these precious species, including some critically endangered varieties, are coming under increasing threat from human activity along the Tweed Coast, particularly during the summer months.

The greatest threat to Australia’s beach-nesting birds is disturbance from people visiting the beach during summer holidays and spring.

Tweed Shire Council is leading a push to help give our fragile beach nesting birds some space to ensure the birds can recover.

Australian Pied Oyster Catcher

“Many of the birds you see at the beach and around the estuary at this time of year have migrated a long way to get here, often thousands of kilometres, and they need a helping hand from the people they share the beach with,” Council Project Leader Pam Gray said.

“Each year, more than a million shorebirds migrate to and from Australia, some migrate 25,000km annually – that’s like travelling from Australia to the Arctic Circle and back.

“By the time they get here they are exhausted. They need a chance to rest and feed and not be disturbed.”

Sooty Oyster Catcher

Ms Grey said beach nesting birds who live in the Tweed and lay their eggs here were also looking a little weary at this time of year.

“But that’s mostly because of people and their bad behaviours, which are threatening the existence of these birds,” she said.

“The numbers of these birds are declining and it won’t be long before they’re extinct.

“There are three things people can do that will make a difference, just by being a thoughtful beach user.”

  • Give the birds some space. If you see the nesting birds, move away quickly and stay at least 100m away. This gives them a much greater chance of hatching and raising their chicks. People using watercraft are asked to stay away from resting birds on the river and follow signs.
  • Keep dogs on a leash. Unleashed dogs move unpredictably and frighten the birds. It can cause them to use valuable energy flying away and leave their chicks vulnerable to heat stress and death.
  • Keep near the water’s edge when jogging, walking, or cycling along the beach. Beach-nesting birds nest on the dunes and soft sand.
Beach Stone Curlew

(Images are a sample of local birds)