Do your bit to save the chicks


With their breeding season in full swing on Bass Coast’s beaches, Hooded Plovers need your help to ensure their eggs hatch and their chicks fledge safely.

The Hooded Plover is a vulnerable species in Australia and endangered in Victoria. Due to the breeding habits of these birds, it is very easy for them to be unknowingly disturbed by people and their pets.

Bass Coast Shire Council Mayor Cr Brett Tessari said there are a few easy steps people can take to help the plovers.

"Hooded Plovers nest in the foreshore sand on our beaches as they are extremely well adapted to living on the beach,” Mr Tessari said.

“They forage in the tidal zone and around seaweeds on a variety of food, such as sand hoppers, insects, worms and seeds from aquatic plants.

“In Bass Coast, we are fortunate enough to have stretches of well-preserved natural coastline, a perfect invitation for shore nesting birds.

“Hooded Plovers tend to prefer south facing ocean coastlines. More recently, the birds have started to move back to beaches on the shores of Westernport, such as Ventnor, Red Rocks, Cowes and Silverleaves. These beaches haven’t been used consistently as breeding sites for many years so this is an encouraging sign for our natural environment,” Mr Tessari concluded.

The Bunurong coast breeding sites at Screw Creek and Abbott Street (Inverloch foreshore), The Oaks, Cape Paterson and Kilcunda are also hot spots for breeding Hooded Plovers.

People can help the Hooded Plovers have a successful breeding season by:

· Avoiding beaches where Hooded Plovers are breeding;

· Walking close to the water’s edge, away from nests;

· Obeying signage and barriers put up for the protection of the birds;

· Keeping dogs on a leash at all times and off the beach during ‘no dogs’ times. For details on restrictions, visit www.basscoast.vic.gov.au/dogwalking; and

· Reporting any incidents to 1300 BCOAST (226 278) or (03) 5671 2211.