After presenting at a great event to discuss the future of Non-Beach Breeding Dotterel I left with some great advice. I plan to make Chick Shelters, when the parent alerts the chick I need to have one of these (every 10 meters or so) that the chick can run to.
I need to make it even shorter and longer, just to be sure. Interestingly I tried adding my decoy chick and it just worried the Pukeko who turned their heads sideways to stare at it in the shelter.
Everything is in place, now we just need some chicks. I need to do observational work to test a few things:
1. Do adults avoid the shelters?
2. Do the chicks use the shelters?
3. Are the shelters effective at protecting chicks from predators? If not lets lower them and check point 2.
4. Other benefits/ problems?
1. Do adults avoid the shelters? No.
2. Do the chicks use the shelters? No, small chicks hide in the grass which is quite long in spring. None of the small chicks lived long enough to be bigger chicks that might have made a longer dash to a chick shelter. The mown area created did not attract any Dotterel (Just Pied stilts, Herons and Spur Winged Plover).
3. Are the shelters effective at protecting chicks from predators? Untested, maybe try them at a mown or beach site.
4. Other benefits/ problems:
- They help with orienteering in the field and you can also perch on them.
- Cows broke about 20% of them, flipping was also an issue, I would consider using tent pegs to prevent cow flipping.