10 November 2013
Nine Hooded Plover Chicks have died in the Mornington Peninsula National Park
The Hooded Plover breeding season on the Mornington Peninsula has been underway since mid October 2013. It is expected to continue for another four months, (March 2014).
Unfortunately, so far this season, nine (9) Hooded Plover chicks have died in the Mornington Peninsula National Park. This breeding season, on the Mornington Peninsula, no Hooded Plover chicks have fledged. Most of the nine chicks have died within the first week of their life.
Sadly this is expected on the Mornington Peninsula. For a number of years, over 90 % of breeding attempts in the Mornington Peninsula National Park have failed. During the 2011/2012 breeding season, there were around 137 eggs laid with only three chicks surviving. That’s a failure rate of 98% !
However, these figures are now being questioned by members of the public and more importantly, by volunteers monitoring Hooded Plovers on the Mornington Peninsula.
A new online database being used by dozens of volunteers, is suggesting the results are worse than has been stated in the past. Previously, those people interested in monitoring Hooded Plovers, were in the most part reliant on Parks Victoria to provide the results but a new on line data base, known as the MyHoodie Data Portal, indicates the Hooded Plover breeding failure rate could be much worse.
The MyHoodie Data Portal was put together by BirdLife Australia and allows registered volunteers to record what is happening on beaches all over South Eastern Australia, including the Mornington Peninsula.
Hooded Plovers mostly nest on ocean beaches and one of the biggest known threats to Hooded Plover chicks is domestic dogs. Dog walkers on beaches frequently allow their dogs to roam off lead, which not only causes stress to Hooded Plover chicks but last year two volunteers watched a Labrador run down and kill a Hooded Plover chick.
Parks Victoria has spent the last three years and thousands of dollars reviewing dog walking in the Mornington Peninsula National Park but unfortunately for Hooded Plovers, dogs are still allowed in the National Park and more importantly, on beaches where Hooded Plovers nest.
There are fewer than 600 Hooded Plovers left in Victoria.
10 November 2013