Shorebirds

Shorebirds.jpg

Shorebirds are a varied group of wading birds distributed virtually worldwide.

Pumicestone Passage is home to about 1,500 resident shorebirds across 11 species, and nearly 20,000 migratory shorebirds across 24 species. Migratory shorebirds are seen in the Moreton Bay Region between September to April

About 15 per cent of our migratory shorebirds stay for the whole year, being either too young to breed, past breeding age, or not strong enough to make the journey. Moreton Bay is the crucial end point of the journey for a number of migratory species. 

Shorebird facts

  • There are 55 shorebird species that occur regularly in Australia.
  • Shorebirds generally gather in intertidal areas or freshwater wetlands and spend most of their time close to water, although some species prefer fields and grasslands.
  • Some migratory shorebirds cover a distance of 20,000-25,000 kilometre round trip.
  • Migratory shorebirds can lose up to 40 per cent of their body weight over the course of their trip.
  • The best food for shorebirds is found in healthy intertidal systems with a soft sediment structure that has not been adversely impacted.
  • The best roosting areas allow shorebirds to rest where nearby disturbance is minimal and they can clearly look out for predators. 

Identifying shorebirds

Shorebirds often roost in large, mixed flocks. They are highly diverse and specialised and have a range of unique physical and behavioural characteristics.

The types of shorebirds often identified in the Moreton Bay Region include:

  • Red-necked Stint
  • Eastern Curlew
  • Ruddy Turnstone
  • Bar-tailed Godwit.

An observant eye is required to identify the different species and the best way to improve your identification skills is to get out in the field.

What is Council doing?

Council manages two artificial high tide shorebird roosts at Kakadu (Banksia Beach) and Toorbul. Both artificial roost sites have been created and are managed for the specific purpose of providing long-term roosting habitat. Access to the artificial roosts at Kakadu and Toorbul are prohibited to prevent disturbance to shorebirds. 

What can you do?

Repeated disturbances to shorebirds cause them to unnecessarily use energy and can prevent them from gaining the necessary weight for migration.

  • When walking dogs they should be kept on a lead and only permitted off lead in the designated areas. Refer to Dog parks and beaches in Moreton Region.
  • Be mindful of walking or fishing close to shorebirds.
  • Avoid operating vehicles, boats, or powered water craft close to shorebirds and observe go slow areas.
  • Keep coastal areas clean by binning rubbish, taking all fishing equipment with you and minimising single-use plastics.