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Give nesting birds a chance this summer

These cute little dotterel chicks blend in with their sandy nests. To give them a fighting chance this summer, the Department of Conservation (DoC) asks people to be careful as they can be easily crushed by unsuspecting beach users.

DoC Biodiversity Ranger Jamie Quirk says New Zealand dotterel, banded dotterel and variable oystercatcher nesting sites in this region are in coastal areas, around rivers and streambeds from Hicks Bay to Mahia.

“As more people are enjoying the outdoors, the chance of disturbances at these nesting sites is increased.

“Users of off-road vehicles continue to be the main concern along with gravel extraction, visitors and dogs.

“We want people to avoid these nesting sites where possible” says Mr Quirk.

Dotterel will nest anywhere from the high tide mark to the base of dunes or on riverbeds. They lay two or three eggs in nests which are camouflaged and therefore easily crushed.

Variable oystercatchers breed in pairs and lay two to three eggs in nests which are usually simple scrapes in the sand.

You can help in the protection of shorebirds by keeping:

' below the high tide mark

' noise to a minimum and not getting too close

' to marked tracks and paths wherever possible

' dogs on a leash

' vehicles off beaches and sandspits

Those who fish can further reduce their impact by being sure to take old fishing line home with them for safe disposal.

Mr Quirk says these are small and effective measures to give these birds a fighting chance this breeding season.

NZ Dotterel