Shorebird protection
  • Last updated:
  • 16 Mar 2021

Shorebirds are among the most threatened group of bird species in the world and each year they share our Sunshine Coast shorelines to feed and rest.

Share our Coast with the shorebirds

Shorebirds need space, food and protection from predators, and we must avoid disturbing them so they can recover from their long flights, and prepare for the next stage of their journey. You can learn more about our resident and migratory shorebirds by following our series Shorebirds of the Sunshine Coast.

Give shorebirds space to rest

Shorebirds are the world’s most threatened group of bird species, and the Sunshine Coast provides an important habitat for them to feed and rest. The most important thing we can do for them is give them space to rest so they gain weight for their trip back to their breeding grounds on the other side of the world.  Shorebird resting and feeding areas often overlap with recreational areas used for walking, fishing, exercising dogs, boating, jet skiing, kayaking, swimming, kite-surfing, windsurfing, and events that use fireworks.

Any disturbance to the birds during this time limits their ability to build up their energy. Even if these disturbances do not last long, they start to add up and this can greatly affect the shorebirds' energy levels.

Here are some ideas to share our coastline

When people, dogs, vehicles and watercrafts disturb shorebirds, their critical energy is used, which reduces their ability to survive on their long migration back to their breeding grounds. You can help by: 

  • Not running at flocks of shorebirds to make them take flight 
  • Letting shorebirds rest - observe quietly from a distance 
  • Keeping your dogs under control 
  • Not driving on beaches near shorebird nest sites
  • Taking your rubbish home with you.

Migration of Shorebirds

About one-third of shorebird species are residents, however most are migratory. Several of these species are protected under Australia's international agreements with China, Japan and the Republic of Korea. Australia is also signatory, through the Bonn Convention, to the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals.

An estimated two million shorebirds migrate annually to Australia from their breeding grounds in Arctic Asia, Alaska and the North Pacific. More than half of the migratory shorebird species that visit Australia are experiencing a drop in population numbers.

Some species fly for days without rest or food and travel tens of thousands of kilometers to reach Australian shores. They arrive exhausted and spend September to April resting and feeding within the river mouths.

Shorebird Habitat

Shorebirds live around instream sand islands and coastal foredunes, typically around river mouths.

They must have space, food and protection from predators and disturbances to recover from their long flights and prepare for the next stage of their journey.

To save energy, they select resting areas which are conveniently close to their feeding sites, generally at or above the high tide mark.

Maps to habitat area