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Calling together a dotterel forum

Published: 12 April 2018
NZ Dotterel Forum 2018. Left to right: Kerry Lukies, Marie Ward, Adrian Riegan, Jordi Tablada. 

You’ve heard of a baby-sitter, a dog-walker – but ever come across a dotterel minder?

For those who missed it, the fifth annual NZ Dotterel Forum took place in Ōrewa last week.

Recognising our dotterel minders

The event recognises the amazing work of dotterel minders across Auckland, their efforts managing pests and the hours spent monitoring dotterel/tūturiwhatu numbers. To say thanks, Auckland Council treated the group to a morning tea along with presentations from a range of speakers and sessions on dotterel-related topics.   

The New Zealand dotterel (Charadrius obscurus) population has been declining due to a combination of habitat loss, predation by introduced mammals, danger from household pets and disturbance during breeding.

Thanks to the efforts of our heroic dotterel-minders and others involved in the Pest Free Auckland 2050 programme, dotterels should be able to give a more hopeful chirp in the future.  

The forum offered a chance for the dotterel-minders to share stories about work in their local areas, exchange tips and chat about the latest dotterel news and research.

Dotterel mature bird.jpg
Mature dotterel. Photo Credit: Auckland Council.

What does a dotterel forum look like?

The event included a presentation on rare Southern NZ dotterel from Adrian Riegen, a look at the psychology of dog walker signage with the University of Auckland’s Kerry Lukies and talks from dotterel-minders Marie Ward from Omaha Shorebird Protection Trust and Jordi Tablada of Piha Dotterel Minders. (Check out Jordi’s piece on the forum here).

Ben Paris, an Auckland Council Senior Biosecurity Adviser also spoke at the event and was thrilled at the enthusiasm from participants.

“It’s great and really inspiring having a group like this come together,” he says.  

“So many Aucklanders are doing great work managing our dotterels but often in isolation without the chance to connect with other volunteers."

"The forum gives community members a chance to share knowledge and let those working on the ground hear from experienced scientists and practitioners. We got some really great feedback and are excited for the future.”

Be a friend to dotterel!

  • Watch where you walk on the beach
  • Keep the dog on a lead and out of prohibited areas
  • Don’t take vehicles on beaches where dotterels are known to nest
  • Keep away from taped off areas on beaches
  • Leave the immediate area if you see a dotterel that looks like it’s pretending to have a broken wing (as this is a sign a nest is nearby).

If you want to join the ranks of dotterel-minders or get involved with other conservation work, go to Pest Free Auckland 2050.