Video by Birds of the Huon
Did you know that September 16th was Plover Appreciation Day? I didn’t either. Australia
has two different species of its own - The Hooded Plover and the Red - capped Plover and around twelve migratory ones. Many of them are highly threatened because
they like the same places that humans do - parks, beaches and playing fields, and prefer to lay their eggs on the ground. Some plovers will have just returned from as
far away as Siberia and all are now laying eggs and raising chicks so it’s a good
time to stay away from them. Tasmania’s Plovers or more correctly Masked Lapwings
or Spur -Winged Plovers (officially Vanellus
miles) are renowned for swooping
at this time of year.
Our plovers which for some reason always remind me of accountants with their white shirts, neat little black hats and their busy purposeful demeanour, will not only swoop to keep you away from their young, but also do a lot of shrieking. Despite that, they seldom strike and despite the urban myth, the spurs on their legs are not poisonous. Still, you are advised to stay well clear to protect the birds. To protect small children, dogs and the like it’s a good idea to find a different route if you can, or wave coloured flags or decorated sticks. An excellent suggestion regarding swooping birds in general from Wires is to carry an open umbrella. However, this should never be used to threaten the birds in any way as it will only make them more aggressive. Read more here
You should never try to move the nest or chicks as they
will most likely be abandoned. As both Wires and Parks and Wildlife remind us, breeding
season only lasts a few weeks and avoidance is a small price to pay for the privilege
and pleasure of having birds in our midst. Check out Backyard Buddies for ways to help your neighbourhood plovers besides leaving them alone.
Please remember too, all native birds including plovers and magpies are protected in Australia and it’s a criminal offence to interfere with any bird, or to remove eggs or nests.
Another thing you might see at this time of year is baby
birds which have fallen out of nests, especially if we have had high winds or during early flying attempts. Don’t
touch them at all unless they are injured, otherwise the parents will no longer want
to look after them. See the little graphic by Wires below and contact them if
birds are injured or you have any other problems with birds Wildlife Rescue 1300 094 737 or read more here.