A pair of masked lapwings, commonly known as plovers, have proven to be model parents after deciding a Shepparton roadside was the best place to start a family.DARREN LINTON November 15, 2012 4:50am
A masked lapwing has taken the strategy of hiding in plain sight to another level by nesting on the verge of a private Shepparton road with heavy daily traffic.
The road leads to a car park and each day hundreds of vehicles pass within a metre of the nest which is nothing more than a mound of loose gravel.
Australian Birdlife magazine editor Sean Dooley said like all members of the plover family the birds' nesting strategy was to be out in the open where they could see danger coming.
‘‘It is bizarre, but I think particularly for snakes and foxes they are taking advantage of a lot of car movements for added protection,’’ he said.
‘‘Their only defence is camouflage for the eggs and anything that lessens the instance of predators is a bonus.’’
Department of Sustainability and Environment wildlife ecologist Peter Menkhorst agreed, but added the nesting site would also aid incubation.
‘‘The gravel provides a nice warm environment for them to incubate,’’ he said.
‘‘They are very well developed when they hatch, they can walk and the parents might lead them away.
‘‘They are pretty good at protecting their eggs, they will scare away a cat or dog and will strike in flight with a bony spur on their wing.’’
The male lapwing is never too far away, switching between the morning shade of a speed sign and the afternoon shade of a nearby building to keep watch.
The birds ignore the constant traffic and a stream of people walking along a nearby path and only react of the nest site is approached.
‘‘They really get to know our habits, they are always watching us,’’ Mr Dooley said.
‘‘Because it’s on the edge of the road and well drained it is also a guarantee it won’t get flooded,’’ he said.
There are four speckled eggs in the nest, which Mr Dooley said typically take three to four weeks to hatch.
While plovers will harass and peck a snake to discourage it they also employ a most unusual deception to confuse and distract predators.
‘‘They also use distracting techniques including the broken wing display, where they trail along a wing as if injured and lead the predator away from the nest.’’
‘‘It’s like an Academy Award performance, they are very convincing, but just as the predator goes for the kill they miraculously recover and fly off.’’
The SAM Foundation has received a further philanthropic contribution of $1 million towards the new Shepparton Art Museum.
The Yarrawonga Pigeons scored a 20 point victory over the Myrtleford Saints at the JC Lowe Oval in Yarrawonga on Saturday.
The Aboriginal and wider community is mourning the death of revered Bangerang Aboriginal elder, Uncle John ‘‘Sandy’’ Atkinson.
Two people have been arrested and thousands of dollars in drugs and property found in a major raid in Corop early Monday.
FOUR Rochester residents did more than their bit for women’s cancers mid last month when they trekked 60km around Melbourne to raise funds for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.
Tongala Football Club lost to Rumbalara in the Murray Netball League on Saturday by 14 points.
Four generations of Comi girls this Mother's Day
Berrigan Shire councillor Daryll Morris says he has been sickened by some of the vitriol and personal attacks to surface since the council’s proposal to redevelop Finley’s Memorial Hall and School of Arts site was revealed in October last year.
DESPITE criticism from within the community over a perceived lack of use, the O’Keefe Rail Trail has enjoyed good traffic over the past couple of weeks, with more to come.
Members of a Cobram social group have encouraged women to become a part of community groups, committees and boards.
School fundraises for student with leukaemia.
Fonterra suppliers are reeling after the announcement of a big cut in the milk price from $5.60/kg to $5 for the full current year.
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