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THREATENED MIGRATORY SHOREBIRDS

 Eastern Curlew                                      
     At the October BIEPA General Meeting, we had the wonderful opportunity to hear an informative address by Professor Richard Fuller from the school of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Queensland. Professor Fuller spoke about the critical need to MAKE SPACE FOR NATURE.  This erudite man has expertise in birds, conservation, shorebirds, migratory shorebirds, urban green space, biodiversity, citizen science, protected areas, national parks and the critically endangered eastern curlew).

     I wasn’t aware until I moved to Bribie that Moreton Bay’s migratory shorebirds travel thousands of kilometres and how critical their time here on Bribie is for them to rest and feed. During their annual travels, Moreton Bay’s migratory shorebirds fly a defined route, the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, from the Bay and adjacent wetlands, along the shores of Korea, China and Japan to their breeding grounds in Russia and Alaska, before returning to the Bay to rest and feed. Each annual migration is a 26,000 kilometre round trip, with only a few critical stops along the way to feed and rest. Shorebirds shed unnecessary weight before migration by reducing the size of their digestive organs and leg muscles. Some species double their weight by building other muscles and storing fat to provide vital energy reserves for their long journey.

THREATS
     Migratory shorebirds are in decline worldwide. A major cause is habitat loss along the Flyway, however, new and ongoing threats in and around Moreton Bay also contribute.

Immediate threats include coastal development and frequent disturbance of shorebirds by people and off-leash dogs. Every time migratory shorebirds are disturbed, they use up some of the precious energy necessary for their flight home. Less direct, serious threats are climate change impacts, such as sea level rise and extreme events.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?

     There are a few things you can do when you’re at the beach or your local wetland to help keep shorebirds safe.

.Give them plenty of space so they don’t get scared.
.Keep dogs on a leash.
.Take home rubbish to prevent injury and habitat degradation.
.Protect and restore coastal wetlands.
.Abide by shellfish bag limits and take only what you need.
 
     Most of this information comes from ESRAG Moreton Bay (Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group). The illustrations are from Birdlife Australia.
 
     For further information: Birdlife Australia: info@birdlife.org.au
                                             Qld. Wader Study Group: www.waders.org.au
                                             Birds Queensland: www.birdsqueensland.or.au
         Glenda Charles
          (for BIEPA)
Article reproduced courtesy of The Bribie Islander                    

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