Shorebirds roosting on concrete walls

To: Jill Dening <>, birding-aus <>
Subject: Shorebirds roosting on concrete walls
From: Nikolas Haass <>
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 2010 18:37:17 -0800 (PST)
Hi Jill et al.,

Sorry for not responding earlier to your e-mail yesterday - most questions in 
your e-mail I could not answer without wildly speculating anyway. 

However, and this is again not based on scientific bachground: I am not sure if 
there is such a difference regarding heat in comparison to the Northern 
hemisphere. The peak of shorebird migration e.g. in Cape May, NJ, is late 
July/August, which is the hottest time there. To my personal experience (I have 
lived there for 5 years and since for 3 years in Sydney), I believe that the NJ 
summers may be even hotter than the relatively mild Sydney summers - this is 
obviously different in Brisbane. But, I believe that I have observed most 
concrete roosting shorebirds later in fall and even winter (e.g. Redshanks and 
Oystercatchers) rather than during the peak migration, which could support your 
heat theory.



Nikolas Haass

Sydney, NSW

----- Original Message ----
From: Jill Dening <>
To: birding-aus <>
Sent: Thu, December 9, 2010 11:24:38 AM
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Shorebirds roosting on concrete walls

Hi all,

I have had a very strong response from my rfi below, and thank all the people 
who have contributed to an interesting offline discussion.

In brief, there are few examples of migratory shorebirds using smooth concrete 
structures, but they do occur in places. Barwits don't like wooden platforms. 
Most usage of sea walls made of rock is in places where the substrate is rough 
and uneven. It's possible that the attraction of rock walls is the isolation 
from security issues.

I am wary of comparing shorebird usage of concrete structures in Australia with 
those in the northern hemisphere, as our summer heat may make some concrete 
structures impossibly hot for migratory shorebirds to stand on.

Some interesting artificial structures can be attractive to shorebirds. For 
example, an abandoned boat wreck, in the right situation, can attract roosting 
birds. Wooden posts and possibly post and rail structures can be acceptable.

My gut feeling is that disturbance factors and loss of natural habitat may make 
artificial structures attractive to shorebirds, rather than a natural 
for them.


Jill Dening
Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

26° 51' 41"S    152° 56' 00"E

On 6/12/2010 12:07 PM, Jill Dening wrote:
> Hi Everyone,
> Please, I need information if you could take a moment to think.
> Does anyone know of a situation where coastal migratory shorebird flocks
> roost regularly on cement structures, as in a sea wall or revetment
> wall? It doesn't have to be in Australia, although that would be better
> if possible.
> If there is such a situation, the next thing I would like to know, if
> possible, is which species are prepared to stand on concrete.
> Taking the question further, I would like to hear from people who know
> of shorebirds roosting on other artificial structures or surfaces. I'm
> not asking about birds like cormorants or pelicans, rather, migratory
> shorebirds.
> The answers may help in informing for an upcoming proposed artificial
> roost. And no, I am NOT building another artificial roost, not me. The
> politics of the last one turned me into an old woman.
> Cheers,
> Jill

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