11 October 2019
Islanders who walk their dogs off the lead while on the beach between now and April are being asked to make sure their pets do not to disturb the wild sea birds feeding on the shoreline.
The reminder from Natural Environment, comes after a member of the public witnessed a dog killing a sea bird last month. The dog owner was unable to be traced. Migratory birds are in decline worldwide; they are protected under the law and Jersey shares an international responsibility to look after them.
When dogs chase sea birds they have to constantly fly away causing them to lose energy and potentially starve as a result. Migratory shore birds such as sanderlings, curlews and dunlins migrate to the island to stay for the winter months, giving them the opportunity to feed before beginning their long journey back to their breeding sites in northern Europe in the spring.
Dog walkers are being reminded of their responsibilities specifically during the period between 1 October and 30 April when dogs are legally allowed to be off the lead.
If you own or are walking a dog, you should:
- give birds that are feeding or resting plenty of space
- control your animal so that it does not disturb or scare wild birds
- keep all dogs under control even when off the lead
- never allow or encourage dogs to chase birds
- keep noise levels low around sea birds
Principal Ecologist and Assistant Director Natural Environment, John Pinel said: “It is really important to ensure that shore birds are left undisturbed whilst they feed. People and their dogs can be very disturbing to birds, the occasional person or dog putting the birds to flight will not cause any long-term harm, what we as responsible dog owners may fail to recognise is that once we have left the beach and returned home, other dog walkers will come along, and this can cause continual, daily disturbance to the birds, potentially leading to starvation and death. It is important that we protect them as they feed in their natural habitat.”