They can be seen busily probing the sand and mud with their long beaks filling up after their long and arduous journey. Incredibly, they lose half their body weight making the journey back to Australia, so it’s no wonder their first activity is to focus on feeding! They will stay In Moreton Bay over the spring and summer, feeding on the intertidal flats feeding on invertebrates including molluscs, worms and aquatic insects.
Many migrant wading birds are endangered, including the bar-tailed godwit. Relying on feeding grounds along the pathway they have lost vital coastal habitat along their flightpath across Asia as well as Australia. But it’s not just their feeding habitat being reduced; it’s also their roosting sites which are needed for them to recover from their journey as well as take refuge from high tides. Whilst in Moreton Bay they have to build up their fat reserves for the return journey to the Northern hemisphere and its quite a balancing act. They have to find the food to build up their condition, but they also have to manage their use of energy. This is why recovery areas are crucial to their survival.
So what can we do to help our international waders to recuperate in Moreton Bay? Well ensuring we don’t disturb them when they are feeding and making sure their roosting sites are secure is a good start. There is an international treaty known as Ramsar which was formed to protect wetlands across the globe and just 25 years ago, Moreton Bay was signed on to the convention due to its importance as an international wader site.
To celebrate 25 years of Moreton Bay as a part of the Ramsar convention, the Redcliffe Environmental Forum are hosting a Moreton Bay Wetlands Expo (proudly supported by the Moreton Bay Regional Council). The expo will be held on the Captain Cook Esplanade on the 21st October 2018 and will be highlighting the contribution of our wetlands, its wildlife and vegetation along with their value in protecting our international visitors. If you want a chance to see these birds in the wild and learn about them and our wetlands, I reckon a trip to Deception Bay is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Moreton Bay, summer home of the Bar-tailed Godwit!
For more information on the expo visit https://www.redenviroforum.org/moreton-bay-wetlands-expo.html or check out the Redcliffe Environmental Facebook Page