Many people find a walk on the beach is a great way to relax and kick sand over their day-to-day worries; and the sight of birds roosting contentedly suggests all’s well with their world. The regular presence of the birds suggests their food supply is there too!
Many seabirds are attracted to rocky outcrops and offshore sandbars where they are less likely to be approached by dogs and people. In areas which lack these natural features, built structures near the shore give the birds a sense of safety and allow people to get a good look at them.
When coastal infrastructure breaks up over time it is usually removed with little thought for the birds that use it. Safe roost sites are especially important to birds such as little pied cormorants (pictured) as they need to preen and sun themselves after fishing. While diving for fish and crustaceans their feathers take on board quite a bit of water which they need to offload. Of course they also offload quite a bit of guano at regular roosts, much to the annoyance of some yachties!
But with a little thought from our coastal planners it shouldn’t be too hard to provide alternative, safe roosts… not just for the birds, but also the enjoyment of beach-goers.