How to help

How to help


Hooded plovers (aka “hoodies”) react to off leash dogs on the beach by fleeing or showing signs of distress at twice the distance they do to humans.  Research shows that flightless chicks stay hidden for three times as long after off leash dogs have passed compared to walkers with no dogs.


While dogs are of particular concern, humans are also urged to give hoodies space.  Unfortunately, dogs or humans getting too close can result in:

  • Nests, eggs and/or chicks being trampled or eaten.
  • Hoodie parents neglecting their eggs/chicks for long periods (too frightened to return to the nest)
  • Hoodie parents and chicks being too frightened to venture closer to the water to feed.


Hoodies nest on the dune side of the beach.  Make sure you:

  • Stay close to the waters edge
  • Observe signs and keep clear of fenced areas
  • Keep dogs on a leash or out of breeding zones

Be aware of where the breeding zones are and the dog regulations that apply on the Surf Coast.  Keep dogs completely out of ‘no dog zones’, and keep dogs on a leash in (or completely away from) other hoodie breeding areas, minimising disturbance.

Refer to the Surf Coast Shire Dog Regulations for information on where and when you can walk your dog and remember that Surf Coast Shire Enforcement Officer’s are targeting these areas over the peak beach season.


Hundreds of coastal volunteers help to protect hoodies across Victoria.   On the Surf Coast, the Friends of the Hooded Plover (Surf Coast) spend thousands of hours protecting Hoodies each year.

By monitoring and wardening hoodies, volunteers assist BirdLife Australia (who coordinate the statewide and national recovery of the hooded plover)  to work towards putting protective management measures in place to relieve many of the threats and human pressures facing hoodies.

If you’re out and about on the coast, say hello to a friendly volunteer.  Volunteer monitors are passionate individuals who have a wealth of knowledge about hoodies.  They are often found near nesting sites (at a safe distance from hoodies, of course!).  Great Ocean Road Coast and/or local volunteers also often have a telescope for spotting hoodies from afar set up, and welcome community members to view the birds from a safe distance.

To learn more about hooded plovers, or to become a volunteer monitor, contact BirdLife Australia, or visit

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee

On 1 December 2020 GORCC transitioned to the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority. Please visit: