Friends of the Hooded Plover Bellarine
The Hooded Plover, a bird in decline, is a beach nesting bird that nests along the sandy beaches of Ocean Grove and 13th Beach. From August to April each year these birds try to raise their chicks, but struggle to do so due to the impacts from people and dogs. This group of volunteers works in partnership with BirdLife Australia throughout the year to raise awareness and protection for this threatened bird.
Over eight years, BirdLife Australia volunteers belonging to Friends of the Hooded Plover Bellarine and Breamlea have put in hundreds of hours per season to monitor the birds along this coastline, find their nests, assist with erecting protective signage and fencing around the nests, and wardening the sites after hatching to chat to beach users and raise awareness about these incredibly vulnerable birds. They have found over 130 nests, and worked hard to assist the birds to produce between two and four chicks a season. This may sound low, but is one of the highest breeding rates for any region, and is a true reflection of the efforts extended by the group.
Through the commitment, and tireless efforts of the Friends group, the 2013/14 Hooded Plover breeding season resulted with a fledgling at 8W Ocean Grove; the first fledgling for this area in over 25 years. The group received special mention at the United Nations Association of Australia World Environment Day Awards 2014 for their efforts.