Globally, shorebird numbers have declined dramatically in the past three decades. 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.

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

Shorebird species richness, abundance and habitat use in the Kempsey local government area 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.

To gain a better understanding of shorebird dynamics in the local government area, Council commissioned the Macleay River Estuary Migratory and Threatened Shorebird Species Management Strategy in 2017 and follow-up shorebird survey in 2018-19. The strategy and survey identified that the estuaries, beaches and wetlands in the Kempsey local government area coastal zone support numerous species of shorebirds and that, in a regional context, the zone supports a high abundance and diversity of shorebirds.

What we are doing

Kempsey Shire Council is working in partnership 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

Read our Macleay River Estuary Migratory and Threatened Shorebird Species Management Strategy(PDF, 8MB) and 2018-19 follow-up survey(PDF, 8MB)

How you can help

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

  • When visiting the beach, walk on the wet sand. Shorebirds make their nests in the dry sand above the high-tide line and in the dune systems.
  • Keep your dog on a leash.
  • Be aware of your impact on shorebirds when boating, fishing, windsurfing or using a four-wheel drive.
  • Take your litter with you to avoid harming shorebirds and other marine life.
  • Pay attention to shorebird information signs.
  • Participate in community bird surveys.

More information

Birdlife Australia Shorebird Identification Booklet

Birdwatching Guide to the Macleay Valley