Coastal Birds of the Burdekin Dry Tropics
NQ Dry Tropics and Birdlife Townsville (previously known as the Townsville Regional Bird Observers Club) have co-produced Coastal Birds of the Burdekin Dry Tropics, with assistance by elders from the Juru and Manbarra Traditional Owner groups who have kindly shared their cultural values associated with these coastal birds. This booklet was developed to help local residents identify the birds that inhabit the regional beaches, estuaries and marine environments and help protect them. This booklet hopes to develop an awareness of our coastal birds that include threatened, rare, and endangered species and in doing so, reduce the threats to these birds and understand the cultural values these birds have to our Traditional Owners.
You could be forgiven for assuming there is plenty of room on the coast for both humans and birds. Not without sensible management it seems. According to the organisation Shorebirds 2020, "There is an increasing evidence that migratory shorebird populations throughout the world are declining".
The Burdekin Dry Tropics with a vast coastline, estuaries and wetlands hosts numerous species of migratory shorebirds and various other coastal species of which a few are shown within this booklet to showcase their diversity. All of the birds shown within this booklet can be found within three kilometres of the beach, and many of them in our own backyard. Simply put, many of the birds we share our coastline with are threatened and weary global travellers stopping to rest and feed on their annual migration routes.
As the human population increases, the overlap between human coastal activities and shorebird habitat intensifies. The subsequent loss and degradation of breeding, feeding and roosting habitats for shorebirds through coastal development and human-related disturbance is threatening our shorebird populations. The Burdekin coastline includes numerous coastal communities and beaches that are inhabited by both birds and people. These birds can be found at Balgal Beach, Acheron, Mystic Sands, Toomulla Beach, Toolakea, Bushland Beach, Cungulla, Alva Beach, Wunjunga, Kings Beach, the Strand, and Rowes Bay.
Coastal development, dogs, rubbish and vehicles can all threaten bird life in the Burdekin Dry Tropics coastal zone. Take for example the driving of motor vehicles on coastal dunes and foreshores - these are also the fragile nesting areas of many shorebirds. The very presence of vehicles will result in some species deserting their nesting sites. Unrestrained dogs chasing birds along the flats is very harmful and is particularly damaging in the weeks prior to migration when the birds need to fatten up for the long journey ahead. Litter (including plastics, bait bags and tangled fishing line) can be a life threatening hazard to birds and other marine life. Under particular threat from human disturbance to our northern beaches are the Beach Stone-curlew and the Little Tern. While both birds are protected under legislation, their numbers are in serious decline due to the disturbance of their nesting sites during their breeding seasons.
We all need to do what we can to protect birds on our beaches. Whether nesting, feeding or resting, all shorebirds are under serious threat from vehicles, dogs, rubbish and coastal development so keep this in mind. Our choices determine their futures.
Coastal Birds of the Burdekin Dry Topics
This is a legacy website. Content is not being updated but is kept as an archive.
Updated NRM information is now held in the NQ Dry Tropics NRM Information Portal at http://nrm.nqdrytropics.com.au/.
while corporate information about NQ Dry Tropics is held on our main website at http://www.nqdrytropics.com.au