Mandurah volunteers help protect vulnerable coastal bird

Extreme weather conditions hitting Peel’s coastline across winter has spurred Mandurah volunteers into action to help protect a local threatened bird species. 

The fairy tern, a small but significant coastal bird, has been listed as vulnerable under state and federal conservation legislation and often calls the Peel region home.

Along with the poor weather, the birds are also under threat from intensive coastal use and predation by feral and domestic animals. 

Coastal Ward councillor Tahlia Jones recently joined 13 passionate volunteers at a Mandurah Fairy Tern Sanctuary busy-bee, aimed at creating a perfect habitat for the vulnerable bird.

Over the 2016-17 breeding season, a colony nested in the Mandurah Ocean Marina on the remaining cleared development site along Breakwater Parade.

The nesting forced developers to postpone any proposed building on the sanctuary.

The return of the fairy terns to Mandurah to nest, generated significant interest in the community, particularly after two birds were identified by leg-band as being 20 years old.

The find broke the age record, which was previously 17.

Taking action: Coastal Ward councillor Tahlia Jones recently joined 13 passionate volunteers at a Mandurah Fairy Tern Sanctuary busy-bee, aimed at creating a perfect habitat for the vulnerable bird. Photo: Supplied.

Taking action: Coastal Ward councillor Tahlia Jones recently joined 13 passionate volunteers at a Mandurah Fairy Tern Sanctuary busy-bee, aimed at creating a perfect habitat for the vulnerable bird. Photo: Supplied.

Last year the City of Mandurah in partnership with multiple organisations, was successful in acquiring grant funding to establish the Mandurah Fairy Tern Sanctuary.

The Mandurah Fairy Tern Sanctuary is one of several sites that will be monitored as part of important new research being undertaken over the next three years by Murdoch University PhD student Claire Greenwell.

The results of this research will help inform the development of successful conservation strategies in the South-West and could be used as the basis for a national recovery plan.

Volunteers can be involved in various capacities, including trialling 'callers' and recording sightings over the different stages of nesting season.

These simple but important contributions will build knowledge about the species.

Ms Jones thanked the volunteers for their work to maintain the site ahead of the fairy terns’ summer arrival.

Claire Greenwell also thanked the volunteers.

Ms Greenwell will presenting to the community about her research, in the City of Mandurah Tuckey Room at the next Mandurah Environmental Volunteers (MEVAC) forum between 4pm-7pm on August 30.