Globally, shorebird numbers have declined dramatically in the past 30 years.

In Australia, shorebirds continue to experience of range of threatening processes. It is estimated that at least 73% fewer migratory shorebirds have been recorded returning each spring from Russia, east Asia and Alaska.

Our local shorebirds

Shorebird numbers have also declined in Kempsey local government area’s coastal zone, which in the past has provided rich foraging, roosting and nesting resources for migratory and resident shorebird species.

Shorebird species richness, abundance and habitat use in our coastal zone are generally not well understood, and limited data is available.

According to the Bionet Atlas of NSW Wildlife and local ornithologists’ records, 45 shorebird species have been recorded in Kempsey Shire, including some species generally uncommon to the east coast of Australia.

What we're doing

Kempsey Shire Council works with other agencies and the community to help protect shorebirds by:

  • improving community awareness of shorebirds, their habitat and the impact of threats such as pollution and climate change
  • monitoring and understanding shorebird species 
  • reducing threats from domestic and feral animals
  • reducing threats from activities such as boating, fishing and driving on beaches.

In 2017, Council commissioned the Macleay River Estuary Migratory and Threatened Shorebird Species Management Strategy(PDF, 8MB) and a 2018-19 Follow-up Shorebird Survey(PDF, 41MB)

The strategy and survey identified that the estuaries, beaches and wetlands in the Kempsey Shire coastal zone support many species of shorebirds and that, in a regional context, the zone supports a high abundance and diversity of shorebirds.

Council also commissioned targeted surveys for threatened and migratory shorebirds between spring 2021 and autumn 2022. The aim of this project was to help identify important conservation value habitats for migratory, threatened and resident shorebirds in Kempsey Shire's coastal zone. The results are available in the Macleay Coast Migratory and Threatened Shorebird Species Survey 2021-22(PDF, 9MB)

How you can help

We can all take simple actions to protect shorebirds and their habitat:

  • Take your 4WD to designated driving beaches only.
  • Drive and walk on the wet sand, below the high-tide mark. Shorebirds make their nests in the dry sand above the high-tide line and in the dune systems.
  • Be aware of your impact on shorebirds when boating, fishing or windsurfing.
  • Keep your dog on a leash.
  • Take your litter with you to avoid harming wildlife.
  • Pay attention to shorebird information signs.
  • Participate in community bird surveys.

More information

Beach-nesting birds: Share the shore

Birdlife Australia Shorebird Identification Booklet

Birdlife Australia Wetland Birds app

Birdwatching Guide to the Macleay Valley