Hooded Plovers’ record season
13 April 2021

Hooded Plovers’ record season

Five hooded plover chicks fledged on Onkaparinga’s beaches this breeding season—a record for the threatened shorebirds.

The five fledglings (chicks that have grown big enough to fly) were born at Port Willunga and Maslin Beach/Ochre Cove, including one from Harvey and Daphne—Onkaparinga’s long-term sweethearts, who the public helped name last year.

It’s a far cry from the breeding season (typically August to March) two years ago, when there were no fledged chicks on Onkaparinga’s beaches.

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.

This season’s five fledged chicks are the result of 57 eggs laid across 25 nesting attempts.

A hooded plover fledgling being released by volunteers after being banded.

City of Onkaparinga Mayor Erin Thompson said it was a fantastic result for the much-loved hoodies.

“This is such great news because we need a few healthy chicks each year to achieve a sustainable Hoodie population,” Mayor Thompson said.

“This result wouldn’t be possible without the Hoodie Helper volunteers, who do such vital work in monitoring the birds, working with council staff and raising awareness among the community.

“I’d also like to extend a huge thanks to our residents and visitors for their efforts to give the Hoodies a wide berth this season.

“When you obey the signage on our beaches, keep your dogs leashed, and keep your distance from the chicks, you provide the birds with some safe spaces to breed over summer.

“This increases the chances of the survival of not just the chick, but the species.”

A hooded plover fledgling stretches its wings.

There are currently 23 BirdLife Australia volunteers along City of Onkaparinga’s coastline.

When the Hoodie Helpers 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.

Record-breakers

Scenes from the 2020-21 breeding season. Photos: Sue and Ash Read, Kerri Bartley

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