You are here

Home > About > News and media releases > The one that didn’t get away — local oystercatcher re-caught after 25 years

News

VWSG volunteer Steve Johnson and the long-term resident.

VWSG volunteer Steve Johnson and the long-term resident.

Photo by: Parks Victoria

The one that didn’t get away — local oystercatcher re-caught after 25 years

Friday 23 August, 2013

Volunteers from the Victorian Wader Study Group and Parks Victoria rangers have re-caught a Pied Oystercatcher 25 years after it was first caught and banded in Cape Liptrap Coastal Park.

The long-term resident was re-trapped during a recent catching exercise at Point Smythe, as part of a 30 year program established to understand the behaviour and habitat needs of these local shorebirds.

Parks Victoria Ranger Jonathon Stevenson, said it was an exciting discovery for the team, particularly because it can be difficult to catch the birds.

“Catching oystercatchers is never an easy task, even when they walk right into the trapping area. We use canon nets which are large nets attached to projectiles fired by small canons, quickly flinging the net over the birds before they can escape.

“Once caught, the birds are banded, measured and flagged before they are released. This bird had its ID bands updated with a single blue leg flag with the unique ID code ‘A4’.The flag will allow the bird’s identity to be recorded in the field without it having to be caught again,” he said.

Dr Clive Minton, leader of the Victorian Wader Study Group team said the re-caught bird was now one of the oldest Pied Oystercatchers on record in Australia.

“This bird was originally caught in May 1988 at Inverloch. It was at least a three year old adult then, so it is now at least 28¼ years old,” he said.

Oystercatchers gather in Westernport, Andersons Inlet and Corner Inlet during winter and begin to disperse to breeding territories in September. Pied Oystercatchers banded in Victoria have been found as far west as the Murray mouth in South Australia and as far north as Ballina, northern NSW. Sooty Oystercatchers tend to head south onto the Bass Strait islands and Tasmania.

“Many pairs also breed locally, like the one we just caught who has been living and breeding around Inverloch and Point Smythe with his mate for the past 25 years,” said Clive.

Jonathon Stevenson said the data collected by the VWSG volunteers over the last 30 years had provided valuable information about the birds and their habitat.

“This data helps us to identify breeding areas and habitats throughout the year. The information is very useful in informing how we manage the parks and their habitats to ensure the birds have the maximum chance of survival. For example, we can focus fox and weed control programs accordingly,” said Jonathon.

“To ensure oystercatchers and other shorebirds like the Hooded Plover are protected, Point Smythe is one of several wildlife protection areas in Cape Liptrap Coastal Park with specific restrictions.

“Parks Victoria encourages visitors to look out for and avoid disturbing the birds when visiting these areas and be aware that dogs are prohibited at all times,” he said.



Media enquiries

Kate Milkins
0437 129 031

Parks Victoria media centre

Recent Stories

Enjoy the magic of nature during Parks Week

Thursday 23 February, 2017
Remember how good it feels to be outdoors and immersed in nature? From exploring stunning coastlines, forests and mountain peaks,…

Have your say on Devilbend watercraft access

Monday 20 February, 2017
Parks Victoria is inviting the community to comment on plans to introduce non-powered recreational boating, including canoes and kayaks, in…

Historic huts in the Alps undergo restoration works

Monday 20 February, 2017
It has been all hands on deck recently with key restoration projects occurring at three historic huts located within the…

Nancy Millis Science in Parks Award now open

Friday 10 February, 2017
Applications are now open for the 2017 Nancy Millis Science in Parks Award. The award recognises outstanding projects that foster…

Pelican Island sand renourishment project a success

Monday 6 February, 2017
Sand renourishment and revegetation works undertaken in 2015 and 2016 to improve the habitat values for migratory birds on Pelican…

Hog Deer hunting to commence on Snake Island

Tuesday 31 January, 2017
The two-year trial of balloted Hog Deer hunting on Snake Island commences on Monday 6 February with a total of…

View all media releases