Wardens take rare birds under their wings
By MARY MANN REBECCA SCOTT and Brook Larance are like two protective mums patrolling our beaches, making sure nobody hurts their 'precious babies' pied oystercatchers.
In a joint initiative between the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and NSW Department of Lands, three new wardens have been employed to protect pied oystercatcher chicks between South Ballina and Evans Head during this year's breeding season.
Ms Scott and Ms Larance are two of the wardens, and are patrolling our beaches to inform people about the endangered birds.
"The aim is to educate people so there is minimal disturbance for the birds," Ms Scott said. "There are only 250 left in NSW. Of that, about 30 pairs live in the South Ballina to Evans Head area.
"This is their last chance to breed and make a comeback." Nesting birds are easily disturbed, leading to their eggs being cooked in the sun or eaten by predators.
New stop/go management signs which restricts beach users from stopping in areas surrounding nesting pairs of pied oystercatchers have also been installed.
The wardens, funded by the Department of Lands, will patrol until late December.
They are part of the Pied Oystercatcher Protection Program being co-ordinated by the Department of Lands, Ballina Shire Council, Richmond Valley Council, Tweed-Lismore Rural Lands Protection Board and the NPWS.