People going to the iconic beach north of Auckland during the summer are advised to stay out of a predator-proof bird sanctuary to protect the endangered birds that call it home.
Birds New Zealand is annoyed by the fact that some beachgoers set up for the day in the fenced off zone at the end of the Omaha Beach spit-instead of using 2.5 kilometres of main beach.
The sanctuary is home to shorebirds such as New Zealand dotters, banded dotters, godwits and variable oyster catchers.
Birds New Zealand Auckland representative Ian McLean said people were getting their barbecues and gazebos in, playing cricket and sunbathing games by their nests.
Birds New Zealand said this is a picture of a dog chasing foot stilts, and the Caspian relationship with its trainer was nowhere in sight. Photo: Birds of New Zealand
Few people have already taken their dogs to the shelter.
“The problem with that is it actually limits the opportunity for the young birds to feed,” McLean said.
“The chicks of the New Zealand dotterels, they don’t get to go to the water’s edge to feed and likewise with the variable oystercatchers – it’s actually rather worse for [them] because they’re actually fed by their parents, so their parents need to be able to access the water and access the shoreline.”
McLean said that could have dire consequences for the survival of the chicks – some of them are dying of starvation.
“It’s simply the fact of too much disturbance.”
McLean is urging beachgoers to stay away from the sanctuary and enjoy their time on the main part of the beach.