Crested terns killed – appeal for information

Issued: 14 May 2021

The Department of Environment and Science (DES) is investigating the discovery of a group of dead and injured shorebirds found on the beach at Bribie Island.

DES compliance officer Mike Devery said on May 5, rangers found 11 dead and two injured crested terns south of third lagoon on Ocean Beach on the eastern side of the island.

“Rangers believe the birds were deliberately targeted by a person who was speeding in a four-wheel-drive, and basically lined them up and mowed them down,” Mr Devery said.

“Unfortunately the two injured birds had to be humanely euthanised, and the department is appealing for public help to identify the person responsible.

“We want to hear from anyone who saw a vehicle leaving the beach or in the vicinity of Bribie Island on the morning of May 5 with white or black feathers stuck in the grill or bonnet.

“Under the Nature Conservation Act 1992, the penalty for deliberately harming or killing this number of crested terns is a significant fine and or imprisonment.

“The department is encouraging people to call 13 QGOV (13 74 68) and they can provide any information they have anonymously.”

Mr Devery said crested terns were found in coastal areas of Australia, and a substantial population of lived on Bribie Island.

“People are advised to stay away from all wildlife on our beaches, and rangers conduct daily compliance and education patrols of the Bribie Island Recreation Area.

“Speed limits apply on all Queensland beaches, and I remind people that they need a Vehicle Access Permit to drive on Bribie Island’s beaches.

“Driving on Bribie Island’s beaches is a popular recreational activity, and to protect the beach’s social amenity and natural values, all road rules and other driving restrictions apply.

“People who drive on vegetated dunes and disturb shore birds and other species, such as turtles, risk an on-the-spot fine of $266.”

Members of the public can report inappropriate behaviour by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68) or the Queensland Police Service.

Crested Terns fast facts:

  • The birds form flocks along coastal areas throughout Queensland
  • They feed mainly on small fish, plunging head-first into the water to catch them
  • Breeding takes place between October to December
  • Eggs are placed in shallow scrapes on the ground
  • Both sexes incubate the eggs