Dogs on Leashes, Birds on Beaches

On Saturday the 16th of September, NACC NRM’s Coastal and Marine team joined Birdlife Midwest and Geraldton Dog Rescue for a breakfast BBQ and community awareness-raising event!

Geraldton is home to over 40,000 people, approximately 11,000 dogs, over 85 species of shorebirds, and several world-class beaches. This means a lot of local traffic for beach-nesting shorebirds, who are some of the most threatened birds in the world.

During spring and summer, when ‘every man and their dog’ are likely to be frequenting our region’s beaches, shorebirds are busy nesting on the beach and dunes. These small birds lay eggs directly on the sand, as their eggs and chicks camouflage well with the beachscape environment. While this survival technique works well for protection against most natural predators, it unfortunately leaves them extremely vulnerable to being crushed by unsuspecting beachgoers, vehicles, and curious dogs.

Birdlife Midwest are a very active group of volunteers who care deeply about the birds in our region, and are driven to educate the community on how we can better protect our local vulnerable and threatened species.  

The Dog’s Breakfast event brought both people and dogs (and even a couple of cockatiels) together to enjoy a BBQ breakfast and learn about local shorebird nesting hotspots, where it’s important to keep pets on leads. Temporary signs are often set up by Birdlife and the City of Greater Geraldton to help educate people, and alert dog owners and 4WD users to the presence of shorebirds during nesting season.

The following advice has been provided by Birdlife in order to work together to protect shorebirds and our greater environment:

  • Visit off-leash areas that are bird-free (visit www.birdlife.org.au/beach)
  • Look out for and respect signs that identify the presence of nesting birds and chicks
  • Use leashes in compulsory areas and where shorebirds are present
  • Walk along the water’s edge during spring and summer, rather than the soft sand and dunes where chicks and nests are likely located
  • If you see little birds running along the beach, or hear the larger oystercatchers calling out, please move away from the area

Birdlife Midwest are hosting a second Dog’s Breakfast event in Cape Burney on the 14th of October; all are welcome!

These events are made possible through funding from the WA State Natural Resource Management Program.

Alanah Campbell – Coastcare Support Officer

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1 comment

Awesome job by everyone to keep everyone safe, our beautiful and long distance travellers resting and feeding and our canine owners for caring and doing their best to help protect these beaches and their home environment …… great team effort by all involved …..

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