The Ramsar wetlands of the Yalgorup Lakes System are the breeding, moulting and feeding grounds for thousands of endemic and migratory birds each year. The migratory birds eat to put on weight to enable them to make the long flight to the northern hemisphere where they breed. Without this crucial part of their life cycle they would have insufficient energy for their long, gruelling flight to their breeding sites and would die en route
Some of the migrating birds such as the Red-necked Stint, come to Yalgorup from their nesting grounds in Siberia to feed during the summer before returning to their home ground to breed. The Ramsar Convention was set up to protect such migratory waders on their long journeys north and south.
Indigenous varieties come to Yalgorup every year to feed and breed. These include Black Swans, Australian Shelducks, Banded Stilts, Red-capped plovers,Crakes, Australian Crakes, Australian Reed-Warblers and Pacific Black Ducks.
Over 60 different varieties of birds were recorded in and around the Lakes in one year and some recent counts have identified:
- 15,500 redneck stints on Lake Preston alone in 1999
- 18,000 red-billed stilts on the Yalgorup Lakes in 2003
- 2,200 Musk ducks which use these lakes as drought refuge
- 11,000 shelducks on Lake Clifton
Most of these birds feed on the Benthic Microbial Communities (BMCs) and the brine shrimps in Lake Hayward (which in turn feed on the BMCs). If there is any change in the water quality of these lakes or the ground water that replenishes them, the BMCs could be altered or destroyed.
Increased urban development would bring more people, more predators, more disturbance and cause the birds to flight and disperse.
This could threaten the ability of the birds to return to their breeding grounds and add to the already drastic extinction rate in the global bird population.
Some of the birds nest on the open beach and large numbers of people walking, driving, exercising in and around breeding areas would bring about a serious threat to the bird habitat.
Any of these disturbances would destroy the habitat and
a vital link in a worldwide migratory chain could be lost forever.
Details of all the birds found in the Yalgorup National Park can be found in a paper written by Bill Russel, . There are also three reports on sightings of Hooded Plovers colour banded in Yalgorup National Park written by Bill Russell, Dick Rule and Tony France (First report Second report Third report)