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Shorebirds 2024_Pied Stilt

Shorebirds 2024: Flight for Survival

An exciting opportunity for Term 3, the Shorebirds Competition addresses the 2024 theme for National Science Week, ‘Species Survival’ and provides unique cross-curricula learning for Australian primary students in Years 3 to 6.

The Shorebirds Competition introduces students to shorebirds that rely almost entirely on our wetlands and coastal areas for their survival. These very important birds connect places on a local and global scale. With shorebird numbers in fast decline, and many species now threatened with extinction, greater awareness of these special birds, and their amazing features, is essential for their future survival.

Offering over $3500 in prizes, both individuals and schools are invited to enter! Winning entries will go on display at ANSTO and in touring exhibitions.

It’s also a great activity for the Winter or Spring school holidays!

The competition opens Tuesday 18 June and closes Friday 18 October 2024.

Pied stilt

Create a postcard!

Learn about shorebirds in a wetland or coastal area near your home, or one in your State or Territory. Choose a shorebird and create a 10.5cm x 15 cm postcard by hand. Tip: Check that your Shorebird is an Australian Shorebird (PDF, 3.73 MB) before you start designing your postcard.

On the front:     Draw or paint the shorebird and write the name of the bird.

On the back:      Tell us why you think your shorebird is amazing or an interesting fact about your shorebird.

Your postcard can also show its wetland or coastal home and the name of the area.

Artwork by Carla L, in Year 5, 2022

Expression of Interest – receive tips and updates!

Add your name to the Expression of Interest form below. We will keep you updated with useful tips and information!


How to Enter

How to Enter

Your postcard must measure 10.5 x 15 cm and be made from thick art paper or cardboard. Not sure how to make a postcard? See the information sheet below.

Only pencils, pens, textas, or paint can be used to create the postcard. No digital content is allowed.

The postcard must show one of Australia’s 54 shorebirds (PDF, 3.73 MB) on the front, and a message telling us why your shorebird is amazing or an interesting fact about your shorebird, on the back.

The postcard must have a $1.20 stamp and be posted without an envelope.

Post your entry to: ANSTO Shorebirds Competition, C/- ANSTO Discovery Centre (B65), New Illawarra Road, LUCAS HEIGHTS NSW 2234

There are separate categories for individuals and schools. You can only enter in one category. 

Before you post, individuals entering must fill in the individuals Entry Form 

Individuals Entry Form

For all school entries, teachers must fill in the Schools Entry Form

Schools Entry Form

Your postcard must be received by 18 October 2024. Please note: Postcards will not be returned.

How to create a postcard (PDF, 207.22 KB)


Prizes, terms and conditions

The 2024 Shorebirds Competition offers some great prizes for students and schools. In addition, for every postcard received a donation will be sent to Birdlife Australia to support their Shorebird research programs.

Please make sure you read the competition terms of entry before sending your postcard. 

2024 Shorebirds Competition Prizes (PDF, 540.55 KB)

2024 Shorebirds Competition Entry Terms and Conditions. (PDF, 154.25 KB)


What is a shorebird?

Shorebirds make up 10% of Australia's bird species and are the world's most endangered group, with habitat loss and climate change being some of the major causes.

Commonly called 'waders' they are most often seen around wetlands, mudflats and intertidal areas where they gather to feed in flocks, often of mixed shorebird species, along the water's edge with their bills probing the sand. Many shorebirds also have long legs compared to their body size but, unlike seabirds such as Gulls, they do not have webbed feet so they cannot paddle on the water.

Australia has 52 species of shorebirds. There are 15 resident species, which means they stay here all year and breed on many of Australia's beaches, and 37 migratory species. These birds fly north every year, during our winter, to breed, many of them making a journey of over 12,000kms to the Arctic. 


Shorebirds information for students (PDF, 427.67 KB)

Wetlands information for students (PDF, 309.39 KB)

Australian Shorebirds ID sheet (PDF, 3.73 MB)

Teaching shorebirds to your class

The Shorebirds Competition enables cross-curricula learning. The competition celebrates the National Science Week theme for 2024 - 'Species Survival'.

Involve your class/es in this learning opportunity with free lesson plans that link to the Australian Curriculum for Science, Geography and English. ANSTO also offers online Shorebird focussed opportunities for your classroom.

Further resources are being developed to support the teaching of Shorebirds and their survival and will be available soon.

2024 Shorebirds Competition Year 3-4 Science Unit of Work (PDF, 1.84 MB)

2024 Shorebirds Competition Year 3-4 Geography Unit of Work (PDF, 694.11 KB)

2024 Shorebirds Competition Year 3-6 English Lesson (PDF, 171.15 KB)

2024 Shorebirds Competition Year 5-6 Science Unit of Work (PDF, 823.69 KB)

2024 Shorebirds Competition Year 5-6 Geography Unit of Work (PDF, 960.75 KB)

Join us to learn about shorebirds

TPD, webinars, online incursion information will be available in Term 2.

Linking shorebirds across Australia

Map of participants will be available Term 2.

Shorebirds on beach

Do you have a question?

Please contact Stephanie McCready and Kim Whitbread at [email protected] if you have any questions about the Shorebirds 2024 competition.