Threats to the Hooded Plover

Threats to the survival of hooded plovers in our coastal zones.

Threats include:

  • Humans – recreational beach users, horse riders, vehicles, events, boot camps, paragliders, hang gliders.
  • Dogs – unsupervised dogs, dogs off leash (even if under effective control), and dogs on leash in situations where disturbance keeps Hoodies away from their nest.
  • Predators – foxes, dogs, cats and native birds (including ravens, magpies and gulls but only when in high densities due to human modified environs).
  • Oil spills
  • Introduced plant species – Sea Wheat-grass ( Thinopyrum junceiforme), Marram grass ( Ammophila arenaria) and Sea spurge ( Euphorbia paralias).
  • Climate change and sea level rise infrastructure.
  • Very high tides and storm events
  • Coastal population growth and increasing beach user numbers in Hoodie breeding habitats.
  • Habitat loss or modifications – including loss of non- breeding wetland habitat.
  • Town and strategic planning incompatible with hooded plover habitat requirements.

Monitoring threats to Hooded Plovers

Hooded plovers have been banded since the late 1990s and BirdLife Australia’s Beach-Nesting Birds project team has been banding Hoodies since 2010. The current banding method is an orange or white flag ID engraved with two letters on the upper leg, and a metal band on the lower leg.

Banding provides valuable data for research and conservation purposes and gives us a wonderful insight into the secret life of Hoodies. Friends of the Hooded Plover volunteers monitor the birds breeding attempts and record threats observed at each site. This data is submitted to BirdLife Australia who examine the local threats and how they change overtime, to inform recovery actions.

The big picture

Our aim is to support the recovery and long-term survival of the hooded plover. Survival is dependent on an annual breeding success of at least 0.4 to 0.5 fledglings per breeding pair. This is the target identified by BirdLife Australia.

To achieve this, we must work together to remove threats that impede the breeding success of our local Hoodie population.

We need to underpin our actions with sustainable practices, adaptive and continuous improvement processes and cooperative and lasting partnerships. We need to identify resources and be open to new approaches.

Continuous improvement model for the management of hoodie threats

Flowchart showing continuous improvement model for the management of hoodie threats.

The bold and the beautiful

Flowchart showing continuous improvement model for the management of hoodie threats.

Jennie Turner, Friends of the Hooded Plover, Breamlea

A Hoodie soap opera, set on Thirteenth and Bancoora Beaches, starring PC as the femme fatale, AY as Don Quixote of our coast and EH as Roadknight Romeo. Binge bird viewing at its best.

Photo: Glenn Ehmke

Our headliners PC and AY (both banded at Thirteenth Beach) are embroiled in controversy. During the first breeding season they terrorise other Hoodie pairs along the Bellarine and at Breamlea, earning a Bonnie and Clyde reputation as they search for territory.

The following year, after a failed nest, the young, adventurous pair claim a spot on the dune face at Bancoora. With two eggs in their scrape, they get social, hosting a flock of feathery friends from near and far. All fun and games, but unfortunately their eggs don’t hatch.

Next breeding season, our young guns’ early nesting site east of the Bancoora Surf Club is destroyed by human footprints. They then battle on through a fourth season marked by lows and highs – an unsuccessful early nest at Thirteenth Beach, followed by three incubated eggs on their Bancoora patch, and finally, a single chick successfully fledged who now resides at Aireys Inlet!

Like any good soap opera, there’s no happy ever-after. Early in the fifth season, volunteers sight both AY and PC getting amorous … but not with each other. PC moves back to her old stamping ground Thirteenth Beach with new partner EH. They incubate a lovenest of three eggs, producing a single thriving chick.

Meanwhile, AY has a change of heart and tries desperately to woo PC back to Bancoora. The feeling’s not mutual. Spurned, he’s now alone – single and looking to mingle.

What will the next season hold for our Hoodie headliners?

Page last updated: Wednesday, 16 September 2020