What is happening?
Hooded Plovers, Australia’s most endangered shorebird, have returned to Seacliff to breed.
To keep the Hooded Plover family safe, City of Holdfast Bay council has closed off two pathways to the beach (near Shoreham Road) near the nesting birds. A section of the beach is also fenced off.
In order to keep the eggs safe and give them the best chance of hatching, beachgoers are asked to keep their dogs on a leash and to not enter the breeding area, which is marked with fencing and signage.
Why do you have to close off the pathways in the breeding area?
Hooded Plovers are very sensitive to disturbance so the nearby pathways, which are part of a 100 m exclusion zone, are closed to reduce disturbance and therefore, increase the chances of breeding success.
How will I know where the exclusion zone is?
We fence off the exclusion zone, and mark it with multiple signs to clearly identify the restricted area.
When will the pathways and other restrictions be put in place?
The area around the nesting site is restricted from when the birds have laid an egg (typically in
August). The restrictions will remain in place until the end of the breeding season in March. However, the location that is restricted will depend on where the plovers have nested and chose to raise their chicks. Fencing and signage will clearly mark the restricted area.
What is the new by-law related to Hooded Plovers?
From 16 December 2019, a new by-law will provide added protection to the Hooded Plovers in Seacliff.
A Hooded Plover breeding sitemeans any land within 100 metres of a sign on Local Government land that indicates a Hooded Plover breeding nest, eggs or chick(s) are or may be present on the land or in the vicinity.
From 16 December 2019, a person must not allow a dog under that person's control, charge or authority to be or remain in a Hooded Plover breeding site unless the dog is under effective control by means of a leash.
When does the new by-law come into effect?
16 December 2019
What other laws relate to dogs in the City of Holdfast Bay?
There are a number of laws regarding dogs in the City of Holdfast Bay. These laws come from the By-laws and the Dog and Cat Management Act.
1. Dogs must be on a leash on the beach from 10am to 8pm during daylight saving.
2. Dog owners must carry a suitable receptacle to collect dog faeces.
3. Dogs cannot harass or attack another animal or person.
Why do dogs need to be on a leash near the Hooded Plovers?
Dogs are one of the biggest threats to flightless chicks and it is a key conservation action to keep dogs on leash near the breeding area. Research has shown that the parents are twice as likely to stay on the nest if a dog is leashed, while unleashed dogs cause parents to abandon the nest in more than 50% of encounters.
If an adult Hooded Plover perceives a threat (e.g. an unleashed dog) it will leave the nest or send its chicks into hiding, so the adult can lead the threat away. The adult bird will wait until the perceived threat has left before returning to the nest or chicks. If this happens repeatedly throughout a day or for a long period of time, the eggs or chicks can fail from exposure, predation or starvation.
Are Hooded Plovers endangered?
Yes. Hooded Plovers are listed as Vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth) and under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 (SA).
When is the Hooded Plover breeding season?
August to March.
How many chicks do they have?
Three eggs are laid per clutch, and they can have more than one clutch per season. The number of chicks that survive until fledging depends on how well we protect the family in their breeding area.
Where can I learn more about Hooded Plovers?
To find out more about the Seacliff Hooded Plovers, visit yourviewholdfast.com/hoodedplovers
For more information on Hooded Plovers, visit:
Can I be a Hooded Plover volunteer?
Yes. BirdLife Australia have a beach-nesting Bird program that works with volunteers across Australia. You can read more about the program here: http://www.birdlife.org.au/projects/beach-nesting-birds
Contact BirdLife Australia for information about how to become a volunteer:Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What are council doing about cats in the dunes
Recently Birdlife Australia gave council a report card of the Hooded Plover Breeding season in 2018-19 in Holdfast Bay. In this report cats were not seen as a threat due to none detected by volunteers and Birdlife.
If prints or sightings are seen then there will be a targeted control and education of nearby residents with cat ownership.
Are foxes a threat for the Hooded Plovers
Yes foxes are an issue for Hooded Plovers, luckily at Seacliff we have not had any detected.