Help save our hooded plover chicks

Operation SoHo is back and Victorians are being urged to be aware of their local beach rules to help protect the threatened hooded plover.

Monday, 17 October 2022 at 11:54 pm
Conservation Regulator Authorised Officers talk with dog walker near hooded plover nesting site
Authorised Officers are on patrol to educate beachgoers about protecting hooded plovers and their eggs

This National Bird Week, beachgoers are being reminded to look out for hooded plovers nesting along Victoria's shorelines with the threatened species at risk of being scared off and their nests trampled on by beach users and wayward dogs.

The Conservation Regulator, Parks Victoria and Birdlife Australia have joined forces for the second year running for Operation Save our Hoodies (SoHo), asking Victorians to take note of rules around local hooded plover nests and to give the birds plenty of space.

Hooded plovers lay their eggs in shallow sand scrapes from August through to March and where possible nesting sites are fenced off to alert the public and protect the tiny birds and their nests.

Conservation Regulator and Parks Victoria Authorised Officers are patrolling from Mallacoota to Nelson to protect the threatened species, and Birdlife Australia volunteers also have a presence at beaches to raise awareness of how beach users can help the plight of beach-nesting birds.

The timing and locations of these patrols will be based on data provided by BirdLife Australia, which coordinates the monitoring of hooded plovers along Victoria’s coastline.

If an incubating adult bird is scared away from its nest by passers-by or dogs, its eggs can bake in the sun or become too cold in the cool weather, which can kill the developing chick.  

In 2021-22, as part of the inaugural Operation Save Our Hoodies (SoHo) Authorised Officers conducted more than 150 patrols along the coast, engaging with 900 people and issuing 44 infringement notices for various offences, including dogs off lead in National Parks.

Last breeding season BirdLife recorded 1,003 hooded plover eggs along Victoria’s coastline. 185 hatched and 66 chicks survived to become juveniles.

The Conservation Regulator investigates reports of dogs harassing hooded plovers. Reports can be made to Crime Stoppers Victoria on 1800 333 000.

We’ll be patrolling right along the coast to educate beachgoers about how small changes in their behaviour on beaches would make such a difference to the local hooded plover population.

Monique Cugliari
Conservation Regulator Forest and Wildlife Officer

Please take note and follow the directions of signs located on beaches to help give these special little birds the best possible chance for survival.

Michelle Anstee
Parks Victoria Area Chief Ranger

You can help these precious birds raise their families by steering clear of signed and fenced nesting areas and following local dog regulations.

Dr Daniel Lees
BirdLife Australia Coastal Birds Project Officer

Conservation Regulator Victoria