Help protect our beach nesting birds

The region’s beach nesting birds have begun breeding and seasonal dog regulations are now in place to better protect the birds during this vulnerable period.

Pairs of endangered Hooded Plovers breed between August and March on popular sandy surf beaches such as Breamlea Beach, Thirteenth Beach, Point Impossible and Collendina to the Point Lonsdale lighthouse.

Red-capped Plovers have also been found nesting in recent years on bayside beaches such as Ramblers Road Foreshore, Portarlington.

Hooded Plovers and Red Capped Plovers each lay up to three eggs in a tiny scrape in the beach sand, above the high-water mark. The nests are almost invisible to the untrained eye.

Beach nesting plover species are much smaller than Masked Lapwing plovers which are found in suburban areas often nesting on lawns, nature strips or other grassy places.

Given they nest in the warmer months when the beach is busier, they can struggle to find undisturbed space to nest, feed and raise their young.

To help protect our plover nests and chicks, seasonal changes in some dog regulations on beaches are now in force.

‘Dog on-leash’ advisory signage have been posted in the protected beach areas.

Greater Geelong Mayor Peter Murrihy;

‘Dog on-leash’ advisory signage had been posted in the protected beach areas.

Considerate actions of beachgoers, such as keeping dogs on leash and giving birds space, have a positive impact on the ability of the birds to successfully breed.

Disturbance from unleashed dogs is one of the major threats to beach nesting birds, but also one threat visitors can control.

Keeping your dogs on a leash gives plovers and other endangered local beach birdlife the best chance of survival.

Once the plovers lay their eggs, they take 30 days to hatch.

It is rare that chicks survive long enough to successfully fly.

You can help to protect beach nesting birds by:

  • walking along the water’s edge
  • observing signs
  • manage your dog according to the regulation signs; and
  • keeping your distance from signed / fenced breeding sites.

Councillor Jim Mason, Chair of the Environment portfolio;

We appreciate dog owners adapting their behaviour each spring and summer on the few beaches where these birds remain.

After the eggs hatch, chicks take another five weeks before they are able to fly. making them vulnerable to predators and dogs off leash.

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