Beach Stone-curlew Chick hopes for a happy end!

Written by Birds Australia/Shorebirds 2020

Birds Australia 2020 Shorebird Scheme would like to thank National Park ranger Lori Cameron for her outstanding contribution in protecting a Beach Stone-curlew chick!


Adult Beach Stone-curlew. © D. Ingwersen

When Lori discovered that a pair of this critically endangered bird species (only 10 nesting pairs exist in NSW) was nesting in her area, she immediately devised a strategy to protect this single chick. It hatched in early December, only one of five in Northern NSW. Lori organized her department to fence in the nesting site and to erect additional road barricades. She then engaged the help of members from local bird watching groups and prepared a roster for volunteers to assist her in keeping watch of the protected site, which is located in a Nature Reserve right in a popular beach and river front area for holiday makers. So far rangers and volunteers have already spent many hundreds of hours to protect this single chick. Foxes have been eradicated in a 1080 poison program. But the biggest single threat to the chick now are dogs. A number of signs positioned prominently at the Nature Reserve entry, prohibit dogs. Yet daily a number of people bring their dogs, some even unleashed. It would only take one uncontrolled dog to kill this helpless chick!

A big thank you also to the editors and reporters of the Northern Star and the Advocate for so accurately reporting this dog issue. In a number of articles the danger of uncontrolled dogs to shorebirds in general and to Beach Stone-curlews in particular is explained. These articles not only help in educating the public but also warn irresponsible dog owners that heavy on the spot fines apply.

We are not out of the woods yet. There are still 4 more weeks to go before the chick can fly. Many thanks again to all the volunteers who have already given so much of their time (and money), but especially to Lori for her selfless dedication to ensure this special chick will survive.

At Shorebirds 2020 we are all keeping fingers crossed that this chick (and of course its chicks and grand-chicks) will benefit from understanding dog owners and tireless volunteers and we can keep this species as a breeding bird in NSW.



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