S.O.S: Save Our Shorebirds!
For a handful of Australia’s beach-nesting shorebird species, Tasmania is the final refuge in the fight against extinction. Home to a staggering 50% of the global population of hooded plovers, pied oystercatchers and sooty oystercatchers alone, Tasmania’s beaches are on the frontline of the battle for shorebird conservation.
We’re losing vital ground
Over the summer holidays, Tasmania’s population more than doubles with visitors – with many visiting at least one beach. But our beaches are also home to hundreds of threatened and endangered beach-nesting birds desperately trying to breed, with nests and chicks precariously exposed to a myriad of dangers.
Beach nesting shorebird eggs are laid right on the sand, camouflaged near the back of the beach or beside dunes. Our shorebirds have experienced an alarming decrease in numbers in recent years, particularly where they are breeding on beaches during the peak tourist season. Major tourism drawcards such as Freycinet Peninsula, Bruny Island and Marion Bay are also prime breeding areas and our shorebirds simply can’t compete with the rapid growth in visitor numbers.
Species such as Hooded Plover, Pied Oystercatcher, Fairy Tern, Red-capped Plover and Little Penguin are all facing an uncertain future. With barely-visible nests that can be easily overlooked, breeding birds are frequently disturbed by people or animals, and more often than not, the chicks don’t survive.
Every time they are disturbed by a curious dog sniffing through the dunes, a careless step trampling on one of their eggs, or a 4WD crushing their entire nest, it represents a huge loss of effort - and in many cases can mean a lost breeding season!
An Essential Alliance
Since 2013, the South East Regional Shorebirds Alliance (SERSA) have been educating the community, locals and visitors about the crisis facing our beach nesting birds. Funded through NRM South, SERSA works with schools, community groups, visitors, locals and interest groups to promote the message that beach users stick to wet sand, keep dogs on a leash, and to keep a respectful distance from shorebirds.
The dramatic increase in visitors holidaying in Tasmania means increased conservation activities must occur if our shorebirds are going to have any chance of survival.
BirdLife Tasmania are also an essential part of this work, contributing years of beach survey data to inform and assist SERSA to make a big difference to the fortunes of many breeding pairs, educating beach visitors and creating safe spaces for Tasmania’s shorebirds to raise their young. In 2015, SERSA won the Tasmanian Landcare Government Partnerships award in recognition of its efforts. However, the data collected from BirdLife Tasmania reveal an alarming trend:
Tasmania's beach nesting birds are decreasing rapidly.
So much crucial work needs to be done to secure the future of Tassie’s shorebirds – and we need to act now before it's too late.
The last year alone saw a 17% increase in visitors holidaying in Tasmania, and we need to step up our conservation activities to follow suit if our shorebirds are going to have any chance of survival.
What can you do? Join the flock!
NRM South's 'Tassie Shorebirds Rescue' crowdfunding campaign desperately needs $60,000 to respond to the impending Tassie shorebird crisis. Funding will go directly to boosting shorebirds conservation activities in the 2017/18 breeding season such as:
- installing signage,
- temporary fencing at key breeding sites around the southeast,
- increasing engagement activities,
- implementing educational events with visitors, regular beach users and local schools,
- continuing critical BirdLife Tasmania shorebird surveys, and
- supporting volunteer and community groups that protect local shorebird populations.
There’s nowhere like Tasmania’s stunning beaches to kick back and relax over summer. Whether you’re a beach lover, bird lover or are just a fan of the Tasmanian landscape, your donation WILL make a big difference to the survival of Tasmania’s shorebirds and play a key role in protecting Tassie’s beach nesting birds.
Remember that for the cost of a summer ice-cream or a serve of fish and chips YOU can help our beach birds to bounce back!
Take a stickybeak at our rewards!
We've got a great range of rewards on offer. Why not glam up your fridge with a set of stunning photo magnets? Or send some shorebird love with one of our greeting cards sets? Our higher end perks include beautiful limited edition wall art by local illustrator Rachel Tribout, kayaking tours around Hobart with Roaring 40s Kayaking or a sightseeing tour with Pennicott Wilderness Journeys.