Rainbow Bee-Eaters nesting at Stuarts Point

Published on 28 October 2021

Rainbow Bee Eater.jpg

Kempsey Shire Council has confirmed that Rainbow Bee-Eaters are nesting throughout the Stuarts Point sports fields.

As these native birds nest in burrows, Council has stopped maintenance at the fields and is actively monitoring the birds’ activity. The sports fields have been temporarily closed to protect the birds and their young.

Council has made every effort to manage the nesting birds so sports can continue and is now working with local teams to provide an alternative facility nearby. Given the widespread nesting, any use of the fields is likely to significantly affect the birds.

Council has developed a draft plan of management for the Rainbow Bee-Eaters and has engaged an ecologist to determine the best approach to reduce the risk of disturbing the birds and manage sports field use in the coming months. Monitoring of the birds will continue throughout the breeding season, with a focus on long-term management of the site.

Rainbow Bee-Eaters (Merops ornatus) are native birds that generally arrive in the Macleay in September. Their breeding season runs from early November through to January, and young birds leave the nest around February.

Adult birds typically select a nesting site in a sandy bank and dig a long tunnel leading to a nesting chamber, which they line with grasses. Both parents incubate the eggs and feed their young.

As a native species, Rainbow Bee-Eaters are protected under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (NSW).