Coastal Bird Signage

Coastal Bird Signage and awareness for the Ravensthorpe Coast - ‘Protecting secretive shorebirds’

The western subspecies of the Hooded Plover is near threatened due to population declines and low breeding success. Hooded Plovers preferred habitat is coastal wetlands and estuaries in the eastern south coast area of WA. They also live on sandy surf beaches, preferring dune backed beaches rather than by cliffs. The species is non-migratory, although recent colour-band sightings have shown that birds will move several hundred kilometres locally.

Many of the threats faced by Hooded Plovers involve humans, who accidentally crush nests and chicks and disturb the birds when breeding. Unknowingly some allow their dogs to chase and sometimes kill Hooded Plover chicks and eggs.

Many shorebirds that visit or reside in the eastern south coast area are also affected in a similar way to the Hooded Plover, including species protected under international migratory bird agreements. Birds Australia has been collecting survey results from across Australia for many years as part of the annual Hooded Plover and National Shorebird Surveys.

Results from these surveys are showing that several areas near Hopetoun and Esperance are critical habitats for the Hooded Plover and other shorebirds. It is also showing low breeding success overall with some areas becoming more significant for breeding.

In response to this, in 2010 RAIN, in partnership with local land managers the Shire of Ravensthorpe and the DEC, were successful with a Southern Incentives - Southern Shores Grant through South Coast Natural Resource Management. This project addresses the protection of roosting, foraging and nesting shorebirds on local mainland shores.

The four key objectives of the project are:

  1. Install Hooded Plover & Shorebird signage at key locations within the eastern south coast area.
  2. Raise the local community awareness of the Hooded Plover and Shorebird areas, the threats, and what they can do to minimise the threat to these birds.
  3. Assist the key land managers (DEC, Shires, & key community groups i.e. Culham Inlet Management Group, Jerdacuttup Progress Association) with incorporating ongoing Hooded Plover & Shorebird signage maintenance & breeding site protection into their annual works programs.
  4. Encourage community members to participate in the national Hooded Plover and Shorebird surveys, ensure volunteer/community survey areas & results are integrated with DEC, and ensure all land managers receive annual survey results.

Additionally shorebird sites will be surveyed at the start and end of the breeding season. Identified breeding areas will trial chick shelters. Local community awareness will be raised by the signage visibility, media releases, and local community events. This project is supported by the Culham Inlet Management Group, South Coast Natural Resource Management and the Esperance Bird Observers Group.

If you would like to be involved in the surveys or gain further information on the project please contact the RAIN office on 9838 1018 or rainoffice@westnet.com.au