Are you aware of the birds? The birds nesting?” I ask the couple, as they walk along the shoreline towards me with their two dogs off-lead. The bloke growls at me, “Our dogs are under effective control,” as one dog lollops off, zigzagging its way into the sand dunes. The small hooded plover nesting boxes are lined up at the beach, past the high water mark. There are ropes to signify “stay away” from this marked-out safety zone. In this space between land and ocean, small birds, camouflaged among the seaweed and beach grasses, build their tiny nests in depressions in the sand.
I feel a duty to speak, to alert these humans to the precious creatures, at risk along this coast. I wonder how the dog owners will respond. “The whole beach here is on-lead during nesting season,” I say. “I’m just concerned about the hooded plovers. There are only a few hundred left in Victoria.” MORE
Header Image: ‘This month, BirdLife Australia is taking part in Plover Appreciation Day, with the aim of making humans aware of the threat our presence poses for this ground-nesting bird species’. Credit: Anna Sublet.