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HomeCouncilRest and relaxation key for shorebirds Sunshine Coast summer break

Rest and relaxation key for shorebirds Sunshine Coast summer break

All the shorebirds that call the Sunshine Coast home for summer have now arrived ready for their long summer break, after flying up to 15,000 km!

Their feathers are worn from that long flight and need to be replaced with new ones. One flight feather of the wing can take up to three weeks to grow! This takes a lot of energy.

Give them space to feed and grow feathers.

Shorebird facts:

  • The lives of shorebirds are determined by the tides. Their favourite food is under water during high tide, so they can only feed at low tide. Day and night, they pick worms, crabs and other little animals from the mudflats and sandbanks during low tide. When they become submerged during high tide, the birds move to a dry roost to rest and sleep. Give them space to eat and sleep.
  • Shorebirds need to eat up to one-third of their body weight every day to fuel their active lifestyle as well as build up fat reserves for their long migrations.
  • The beak of each species has the perfect shape and length to pick their favourite food. This avoids food competition between species on the sandbank. Give them space to pick in the sand and feed.
  • Shorebirds can get exceptionally old for small birds, up to 20 years old. By the time a shorebird is 15 years old, they will have flown the equivalent distance to the moon – that’s 384,400 kilometres – just on migration alone.
Image by Christine Bull

In February, it’s time for the shorebirds to get ready for migration back to the northern hemisphere. It will be a long trip to the first rest stop in Asia, up to a week of non-stop flying.

To have enough energy for this journey, some birds almost double their weight in six weeks leading up to the trip.

Give them space to feed and put on plenty of weight.

Learn more about Sunshine Coast shorebirds or watch the video series.

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