Saturday, 16 September 2023
Plover Appreciation Day, 16 September, is a special day which aims to raise awareness of the plight of ground-nesting plovers around the world.
Many plover species are highly threatened, largely due to their habitats also being some of the most popular places for people’s recreation, such as the beach, shores of lakes and wetlands, or open grasslands.
The plovers’ dependence on these habitats, together with their highly camouflaged nests and cryptic behaviours, means that people can have major impacts on the survival of their eggs and chicks without even knowing it. The key to coexistence between people and plovers is awareness, understanding and sharing spaces with them.
As well as our resident plover species (Hooded Plovers and Red-capped Plovers), lapwings and dotterels are also members of the plover family. There are at least another six species (excluding vagrants) that are migratory, non-breeding visitors to our shores.
The Hooded Plover and Red-capped Plover are known as beach-nesting birds because, well, they usually lay their eggs on the beach. Red-capped Plovers sometimes also lay their eggs beside wetlands as well. And they’re breeding right now! Please don’t disturb them.
Meanwhile, most of the migratory species of plovers are heading back to Australia at the moment, flying from their breeding grounds in Siberia and elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere. They cover thousands of kilometres to get here. When they’re in Australia, they usually feed on sheltered shores, and are also easily disturbed. They need to spend long periods of time feeding so they can replenish the energy that they expended during their marathon migratory flight.
Another migratory plover, the Double-banded Plover, has just left our shores in recent weeks, heading back across the Tasman Sea to its breeding grounds in New Zealand. They’ll be back in Australia again next autumn.
The easiest way to appreciate Australia’s plovers is to give them a bit of space and the respect they deserve — please keep a safe distance away and keep your dog on a leash whenever a plover is nearby to minimise any disturbance. Learn how to be a plover-friendly beach-goer here.
Want to help monitor plovers and their nests? Learn all about volunteering for beach-nesting birds below or visit the Beach-nesting Birds webpage.
Small changes in behaviour can help people and beach-nesting birds live together in harmony. Follow these 6 simple steps to become a bird-friendly beachgoer.
Five Australian shorebirds, and many species of seabirds, rely on coastal habitats for nesting. Loss of coastal habitats and recreational pressures are taking a devastating toll.
When you head to the beach for a day of fun in the sun, chances are you’ll be sharing the shore with migratory and beach-nesting birds.
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