Morecambe Bay Partnership is asking dog walkers to help save the birds of the Bay by remembering to ‘Stop, Look and Listen for wildlife’ before letting dogs off the lead on the coast.
Morecambe Bay is one of the best places in the UK to see wildlife over the winter months. Around 210,000 birds flock to our shores from their arctic breeding grounds to spend the winter on the shores of the Bay. When they arrive, they really need to conserve their energy or they will perish.
With such a busy coast, the birds are struggling to get all the rest they need. People and dogs are the most common causes of birds being disturbed from roost sites. Birds use up to twelve times more energy when disturbed to the point of taking flight, and if they can’t land again they will begin to use up the fat reserves which they need to keep warm against the winter winds. If they lose too much energy, they won’t be able to survive.
These birds have a long, cold winter ahead of them. Those living beside the coast will be familiar with the freezing winds and torrential rain that batter the coast through the winter. To survive this, our coastal birds must spend all of their time either feeding or resting to build up and retain the energy reserves which will allow them to survive through the winter.
Amy Hopley, Morecambe Bay Partnership’s Nature & Wildlife Officer says “We all love trips to the beach with our four-legged friends, and most people also love to see the amazing wildlife on our shores. If you think there is wildlife nearby, keep your dog on the lead until you have moved away. By taking an extra few seconds to look and listen for birds, seals and other animals before letting our dogs off the lead, we can help the wildlife of Morecambe Bay stay fit and healthy through the winter.”
This winter, Morecambe Bay Partnership will be promoting good coastal dog-walking through wildlife-friendly walk routes, wildlife spectacles to look out for on the coast, and sharing fascinating facts about the wildlife of Morecambe Bay.
To find out more, visit www.morecambebay.org.uk and sign up to receive the Morecambe Bay Partnership newsletter, which is packed with news, stories and activities to discover around Morecambe Bay. You can also follow Morecambe Bay Partnership on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to discover even more about the nature, heritage and history of Morecambe Bay.