Dog owners asked to be careful around new Hooded Plover nesting site in Henley Beach

A new nesting site in Henley Beach South has been fenced off to protect the vulnerable species as its nesting season begins.

Adelaide’s beaches, while beautiful, are not just places of interest for us humans, they also play an important role in our ecosystem. The sand dunes that separate the manmade trails and the vast, open ocean serve as nesting sites for many animals, including the very special Hooded Plover and Red Capped Plovers.

The seaside-dwelling birds nest all along the Adelaide coastline from Grange down to the Fleurieu Peninsula with a new nesting site just North of the Torrens River mouth at Henley Beach South recently created.

With only an estimated 500-800 birds left in the state and less than 70 in metropolitan Adelaide, it’s imperative that they can nest in peace to ensure a successful breeding season.

When born, Plover chicks are no bigger than a 50-cent piece, meaning the vulnerable babies are easily missed in their home amongst the sand dunes. Residents and visitors to the area with dogs are advised to ensure their four-legged friend doesn’t run into the nesting areas to avoid any unfortunate mishaps.

While a curious dog may be perceived as ‘playing’ and ‘gentle’, these vulnerable birds view them as a predator and a threat to their survival. The parents will leave their nests or chicks to distract the unleashed dogs away from the area which leaves their chicks or eggs exposed to heat, and other predators and without safe access to food.

If you happen to be walking your dog along the beach this spring, keeping your dog on a leash is a simple way you can ensure the safety of Plover chicks. Known nesting sites are signed and fenced so you can easily identify the areas where you need to be most careful.

How you can help:

• Leash your dog and walk at the water’s edge.

• Don’t enter fenced areas or nearby sand dunes.

• Don’t sit or remain near fenced or signed areas.

• If driving is allowed, go slowly, stay as close to the water’s edge at low tide as is safe and do not park next to fenced areas or signs.

• Ride your horse at low tide and stay close to the water’s edge

Charles Sturt Council enforces that dogs need to be on a leash 100m from the signage at all times to ensure the safety of our feathery friends.

This also serves as a timely reminder that from October 2nd, all dogs will be required to be on a lead when walking on the beach between 10am and 8pm.

We’re so lucky in South Australia to be home to some amazing creatures, so let’s all do what we can to help give them the best chance at survival.

For more information on the Hooded Plovers new nesting sites, check out this helpful doc by the Charles Sturt Council.

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