Posted on 29/07/2015 by Phillip Island Nature Parks

Record year for Hooded Plovers on Phillip Island

The Hooded Plover is listed as a vulnerable bird in Victoria, but the 2014/15 breeding year has seen the highest number of chicks fledge in the 23 years of record-keeping.

A total of 12 chicks are confirmed to have fledged on Phillip Island, with an unconfirmed 13th chick thought to have made it through to this stage. Rangers from Phillip Island Nature Parks and a band of dedicated and highly valued volunteers have been maintaining vigil ever since the first nest was discovered on 13 September 2014.

Hooded plovers nest along the coast on beaches and in sand dunes during the busy summer months, so they are prone to disturbance and thus low breeding success. The Hooded Plover Watch program is conducted from late spring to early autumn, with counts of all birds on beaches held quarterly to monitor the species in the long term.

Some of the duties performed by Rangers and volunteers include: increasing public awareness through direct contact with the public, finding and monitoring nest progress, nest warden duties, nest progress signs on access points, beach cleaning to remove hazardous rubbish, pest plant and animal control, and entering nest progress into the electronic portal, just to name a few.

Jarvis Weston, Ranger in Charge of Environment with Phillip Island Nature Parks stated: “It was a great relief that there was successful breeding on the south coast this year, as only one chick had fledged on the south coast since the 2010-11 season.”

The Hooded Plover population on Phillip Island has doubled since active management began in 1998 and their range has dramatically increased to include most of the beaches on the island. This bucks the trend for many other ‘hoodie’ populations in the south eastern corner of Australia where their numbers continue to decline.

Mr Weston went on to say: “This success is a testament to the vigilance and effort of our volunteers, working alongside Nature Parks’ Rangers for a long period of time, and I would like to thank them for their continued support”.