May 252014

As millions of vacationing Americans head to their nearest beach destination for a long weekend of surf and sun, American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is urging them to be mindful of the many beach-nesting birds that will be tending to their nests and newly hatched young.

“People visiting the beaches are often unaware of the many species of birds that nest in the sands near where they are swimming, fishing, and playing. As a result, nests can accidentally get trampled, destroyed, or abandoned because people get too close,” said Kacy Ray, Gulf Conservation Program Manager for ABC’s Gulf Beach-Nesting Bird Conservation Program.

“The best thing for beachgoers to do is to avoid getting close to areas where larger congregations of birds are gathered, and to always respect areas that are roped off or marked with signs designating an area that is used by nesting birds,” said Ray. “The habitat for these birds is diminishing every year due to beach development, erosion, and ever-increasing recreational use, so the birds can really use any break we can give them. They have no other place to go.”

Ray pointed out that it can be difficult for both the year-round resident and the casual vacationer to see the difference between a bird that is simply sitting on the sand and one that is tending eggs or a nest or young.

You know you’ve entered a nesting area when large groups or individual birds vocalize loudly, dive-bomb your head, or feign injury to lead you away from their nests. If this happens, back away and share the beach so the birds can successfully rear their young.

Ray said that there are special concerns for different regions of the country.

Gulf Coast:

Along the Gulf Coast, you will find Least Terns and Black Skimmers, which nest in colonies. Wilson’s and Snowy plovers and American Oystercatchers can also be found but tend to be spread out in more isolated single-pair territories along the coast.

ABC is leading a Gulf Coast conservation effort that is working to identify and implement protective measures for these vulnerable beach-nesting birds. The project utilizes expertise not only from ABC but from partners throughout the Gulf region, including Houston Audubon, Audubon Louisiana, Grand Isle State Park, Gulf State Park, and Eckerd College in Pinellas County, Florida, among many others.

Funded primarily by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the project focuses on protecting and monitoring beach-nesting bird habitat in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida. It also includes statewide public awareness campaigns in Texas and Louisiana asking boaters, fishermen, and other recreationists to “Fish, Swim, and Play from 50 Yards Away” from birds nesting on islands and beaches. Regional partners in this effort include Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, and Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program.

“It takes a lot of feet on the ground to raise awareness about birds nesting and raising their young on beaches. ABC and its partners are working in the Tampa Bay region; Gulf Shores, Alabama; Grand Isle, Louisiana; and all up and down the Texas coast to help these birds and their young,” said Ray.

Atlantic Coast:

The federally threatened Piping Plover can be found on Atlantic Coast beaches extending from North Carolina to Maine. They are especially concentrated along the northeastern coast, notably along the beaches of Long Island, New York, and the southern Delmarva Peninsula. Other species include the Least Tern, Black Skimmer, American Oystercatcher, and Wilson’s Plover.

Pacific Coast:

Western beaches host populations of the federally threatened “Western” Snowy Plover, endangered “California” Least Tern, and the Black Oystercatcher (which is more frequently found on rocky, rather than sandy, beaches). While the terns tend to be colonial in their nesting habits, the plovers are more spread out, often favoring sites where rivers enter the ocean.

Ray said that most nesting birds tend to use higher parts of the beach away from the surf, so it should be possible to avoid conflict with beach nesters so long as people remain close to the water and away from the dunes or higher areas.
This article was first published by American Bird Conservancy, the Western Hemisphere’s bird conservation specialist – the only organization with a singular and steadfast commitment to achieving conservation results for native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With a focus on efficiency and working in partnership, we take on the toughest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on sound science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.

Share this post with your friends

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

Lee Dusing

Love that photo!

American Bird Conservancy Warns Memorial Day BeachgoersParrot Shop

[…] The American Bird Conservancy urges all beachgoers to fish, swim and play at least 50 yards from nesting birds. Source […]


Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days

  1. POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on fur farming? – [3502 Views]
  2. POLL: Should foxes be culled to protect domestic pets? – [2014 Views]
  3. POLL: Should Nevada’s wild horses be protected from roundups and slaughter? – [1806 Views]
  4. POLL: Should the export of young elephants to Chinese zoos be banned? – [1501 Views]
  5. POLL: Should there be a total ban on trade in rhino horn? – [1266 Views]
  6. POLL: Should trail (fox) hunting on National Trust land be stopped? – [1173 Views]
  7. POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on the shark fin trade? – [1016 Views]
  8. Radioactive Boar Wreak Havoc on Swedish Landscape – [888 Views]
  9. POLL: Would you support the reintroduction of the wolf in the UK? – [837 Views]
  10. POLL: Should the Grand Canyon Bison be culled? – [818 Views]

Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months

  1. POLL: Should hunting with hounds be banned? – [7632 Views]
  2. Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts [7111 Views]
  3. POLL: Should foxes be culled to protect domestic pets? [3799 Views]
  4. POLL: Should the trophy hunting of bears and wolves be banned? – [3696 Views]
  5. POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on fur farming? – [3502 Views]
  6. POLL: Should the slaughter of badgers in the UK be finally stopped? – [3038 Views]
  7. POLL: Should the cruel sport of bullfighting be banned? [2873 Views]
  8. POLL: Should Canada ban the hunting of seals? [2667 Views]
  9. POLL: Should the Tories be allowed to bring back fox hunting? [2578 Views]
  10. POLL: Should wild elephants be sold to Chinese zoos? [2322 Views]