Hooded plover in Tasmania
William Harvey <>
Hooded plover in Tasmania
John Tongue <>
Sun, 4 Jan 2015 15:40:25 +1100
Thanks for this really interesting and informative report of a great species!!
On 04/01/2015, at 10:52 AM, William Harvey <> wrote:
> I wouldn't call myself a dedicated twitcher but I like to be able to identify
> the birds around us and enjoy watching their behaviour.
> My family has a holiday place on the East Coast at Spring Beach. It is not
> extensive being just under 1 km long but quite wide at some times of the
> year. In the summer months it is very popular with day-use visitors and other
> shack owners, swimming and surfing. Many families bring their dogs to enjoy
> the beach experience.
> I have been observing a pair of hooded plovers which have nested - if you can
> call it a nest - on the sand adjacent to an intermittent creek that sometimes
> breaks across the beach after very heavy rain. They have been there for at
> least 15 years despite the hazards.
> Whether they are the same birds is impossible to tell as they are not marked
> but they use the same location within a few metres each year.
> Their chosen nesting site is very hazardous also due to big seas reaching
> across the beach in storms engulfing their nest or the creek flooding,
> washing away their eggs. They just come back and start again.
> Despite reports that the species is in decline I am happy to report that
> during the past two years there are now 4 breeding pairs on the beach and all
> have produced several clutches per season raising sometimes three chicks from
> a clutch but more commonly two or even only one.
> Largely due to the efforts of one keen local, the nesting zones are marked by
> garden stakes linked with two strands of twine with a laminated message
> explaining the breeding behaviour and asking visitors to respect the nesting
> sites and to restrain dogs and small two legged creatures. Given the level
> of usage on good days, this strategy has worked remarkably well and the
> public do seem to be assisting by keeping their distance.
> My family watch in amusement at the behaviour employed the parent birds to
> lure would be dangerous dogs (and people) away from the nest by incredible
> feigned injuries, flopping over the sand until the danger has been averted,
> to return to guard duty on the nest site. The chicks run into the marram
> grass when danger lurks and will stand rock still behind a single stalk
> apparently hoping it will conceal them!
> I observed an unusual event two weeks ago that I have not witnessed before
> but is perhaps quite common place in bird land.
> While I was watching one pair with two not fully fledged chicks busily
> feeding on "sand hoppers" a new bird arrived on the scene, presumably male.
> He scurried up racing towards the chicks and bowled one over with malicious
> intent. The parents quickly responded, putting themselves between the
> interloper and the chicks allowing them to escape. The pair then took an
> aggressive stance with heads lowered and charged in unison towards the new
> arrival. It retreated but tried to attack from another angle but the pair
> showed it the way out in no uncertain terms! They continued to pursue the
> attacker some distance along the beach until they were satisfied they had
> done their duty.
> The new arrival then proceeded to try his luck with one of the other pairs
> but received the same treatment.
> Amazing defensive behaviour for a small inoffensive bird like the hooded
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