The positive news follows a record breeding season for the threatened shorebirds on Onkaparinga’s beaches in 2020–21, when five chicks fledged (grew big enough to fly).
Birdlife Australia volunteers have set up a roster for ‘chick wardening’ at the site to educate beachgoers about the birds and the three vulnerable babies.
The chicks are a timely reminder for beachgoers to give the threatened birds some space this breeding season (typically August to March), keep your dogs leashed around hooded plover nests, and obey signage along Onkaparinga’s beaches—including around vehicle access.
Vehicle access is restricted on Aldinga Beach, south of the Aldinga Beach access ramp, until Friday 1 October.
Hooded plover chicks have a low chance of survival because they can’t fly for the first five weeks; become easily frightened by human and off-leash dog activity and are susceptible to a range of predators.
The chicks need to forage for their own food, which includes bugs in the wet sand, so they traverse across the sand outside of fenced areas to the shoreline to feed.
Last season’s five fledged chicks were the result of 57 eggs laid across 25 nesting attempts.
When the Hoodie Helper volunteers locate a nest, breeding success is supported by the guidelines included in the Hooded Plover Program Response Plan created by project partners BirdLife Australia and Green Adelaide.
Council’s Parks and Natural Resources team supplies and installs temporary fencing and signage with volunteers to alert beachgoers to the Hoodies nesting nearby.
Council ranger patrols at local beaches help the public to comply with the advice given to help the birds thrive.
If you’re interested in becoming a hooded plover volunteer, visit the BirdLife Australia website.