Burnett Mary Regional Group

Shoring up the future of shorebirds

Bundaberg shorebirds

A Whimbrel shorebird at Barubbra Island. The Whimbrel is a regular migrant to Australia and New Zealand, with a primarily coastal distribution. Photo: Chris Barnes (BirdLife Bundaberg)

The Burnett Mary Regional Group (BMRG) is leading a ground-breaking project to shore up the future of migratory birds along the Queensland coast near Bundaberg.

BMRG plans to trial artificial roosts at Barubbra Island to provide safe habitat for shorebirds and assist with monitoring.

Planning approval is being sought to install long-line oyster bags as a low-cost, low-impact, semi-permanent alternative to previous methods.

Critically endangered species known to nest in the area included the Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew Sandpiper and Australia’s largest shorebird, the Eastern Curlew.

The Eastern Curlew takes an annual migratory flight to Russia and north-eastern China to breed, returning to Australia in August to feed on crabs and molluscs in intertidal mudflats.

Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) is funding and supporting the project, while volunteers from Birdlife Bundaberg will assist with monitoring the shorebirds.

Gidarjil Development Corporation land and sea rangers will help to assemble and install the floating roosts.

BMRG project officer Samuel Groom said the trial is modelled on work successfully undertaken by BirdLife Australia at three other sites.

“Bundaberg serves as a major feeding and roosting ground for shorebirds, receiving 42 species of migratory shorebirds along our shoreline from September to April,” he said.

“Monitoring over the 2020 season showed that Bundaberg received 2000 birds across 22 species with six of these species being under threat.

“Shorebirds have experienced extreme loss of habitat over recent decades due to global urbanisation.

“They need large areas of suitable habitat protected or built to breed, feed and roost.”

GPC Executive General Manager for Safety & Environment Social and Governance, Richard Haward, said the corporation is proud to support the project through their community investment program.

“This is a fantastic project that sees us investing $250,000 into the partnership over the next five years,” Mr Haward said.

“We look forward to working with BMRG, Birdlife Bundaberg and Gidarjil Development Corporation land and sea rangers to see this project reach implementation and monitoring.”

The location of the Barubbra Island floating roost trial near the Port of Bundaberg.

More information about the shorebirds project

Kolan River works benefit the Reef and the local environment

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