Minister for Parks

Call to help protect vital shorebird habitat during breeding season

29 September 2021

The Tasmanian Government is supporting calls from Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service to urge the beach-going community to help protect shorebirds during breeding season.

Beaches across Tasmania provide year-round habitat for a range of birds. Sadly, many of these birds are declining in numbers and are now threatened species, so providing them with the space to share our beaches is critical for their survival.

It is important to be aware of these vulnerable birds in the environment and to avoid disturbing them as much as possible at this critical time of their life cycle.

Breeding shorebirds lay well camouflaged eggs on dry sand in shallow nests called scrapes. Newly hatched chicks can’t fly and for up to a month can only run until they grow flight feathers.

Beach-goers can help protect this habitat by following some simple practices, such as walking only on the wet sand away from breeding areas, being cautious about bringing dogs onto a beach, making sure to follow signage about dog walking areas and keeping dogs away from dry sand areas. Taking vehicles onto beaches should also be avoided to minimise nest disturbance.

Education blitzes in recent years have seen success in places such as the Scamander River mouth Bird Sanctuary area, which is now a safe breeding zone for Little Terns, Fairy Terns, Hooded Plovers, Pied Oystercatchers and Red-capped Plovers.

The PWS will also team up with local councils to ensure people are doing the right thing. Beach-goers are reminded to check their local council website for information on where they can exercise dogs and what limits may apply.