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120,000 international visitors to depart Point Cook by World Migratory Bird Day

Thursday 9 May, 2013

About 120,000 birds arrived at Victorian wetlands during early spring from as far afield as Siberia and Japan. More than 30,000 of them take up residence in the Port Phillip areas of Cheetham Wetlands, Werribee, Swan Bay, Edwards Point and Mud Island. The birds rest and feed during the Northern hemisphere winter, and return to their Northern hemisphere breeding grounds and are now returning just before World Migratory Birds Day raised awareness on 11-12 May.

Parks Victoria Ranger Bernie McCarrick has been watching the annual coming and going of migratory shorebirds at the Point Cook Coastal Park and Cheetham Wetlands for decades. Over that time he’s seen the flocks shrinking and the city growing.

The number of birds arriving in Port Phillip has dropped around 75 percent over the past 25 years. The destruction of important staging points on their 12,000 kilometre-long migratory route is a key factor in their decline. Nearly a third of the birds’ resting places on the eastern coastlines of China and Korea have been lost to agricultural and urban development.

Parks Victoria rangers are working to maintain the Cheetham Wetlands, providing the birds with rich food habitats and minimising disturbances so that they can rest and fatten up before starting back on their epic 12,500 kilometre journey north.

“It’s a real challenge in Point Cook. This used to be a remote area and now there are houses right up to the park boundaries as the city keeps on expanding. The extra pressures on our natural habitats make it more important than ever for the community to be aware of their impact and to think about how we can reduce our environmental footprint.”

“When you’re living near a significant wildlife conservation area there are some things you can do that seem really simple, but they make a huge difference to protecting birds and their habitat.”

Parks Victoria and Birdlife Australia have published the following tips on how you can be a good neighbour:

· Always stay on walking tracks and foot paths

· Always walk your dog on a lead

· Ensure your cats are kept inside at night or within cat enclosures

· Report any unauthorized vehicles in the wetlands including motor bikes

· Always make sure your rubbish is disposed of in a bin so it doesn’t end up in the wetlands

· Plant bird-friendly plants in your garden

“Habitat protection is critical to the long-term survival of our international guests,” said Mr McCarrick.

For more information about Point Cook Coastal Park, Cheetham Wetlands or Point Cooke Marine Sanctuary, call Parks Victoria on 13 1963 or visit www.parks.vic.gov.au

 

World Migratory Bird Day.

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD), which will be celebrated on 11-12 May 2013, was initiated in 2006 and is an annual awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the protection of migratory birds and their habitats. On the second weekend each May, people around the world take action and organize public events such as bird festivals, education programmes and birdwatching excursions to celebrate WMBD.

Migratory birds connect all corners and almost every environment of the world along their migration paths. WMBD is a global event and also hopes to connect the world, and bring together organizations, governments and dedicated people to protect migratory birds for future generations. WMBD works as a network to increase public knowledge about migratory birds and their importance and also connects groups of people to share, celebrate with and learn from each other.

For more information visit:  www.worldmigratorybirdday.org/2013/

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