Florida – It’s Shorebird nesting season and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) says to give them room.
Nesting season is underway on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida, and the FWC wants people to watch out for and avoid disturbing birds and their babies. Shorebirds build small nests using sand and sea shells on the beach during spring and summer. The nests and the hatchlings are well camouflaged and can be hard to see.
“People visiting Florida’s beaches and coastline can really have an impact on whether shorebirds have a successful nesting season,” said Nancy Douglass of the FWC. “Following a few simple steps while enjoying the beach can help nesting shorebirds succeed, giving future generations of beach-goers the opportunity to see these iconic birds along our coasts.”
Stay away from the birds and their nests. The rule of thumb is to stay at least 300 feet away from a nest. If a bird leaves its nest, makes loud noises, or dive bombs you should get out of Dodge.
Don’t go near posted nesting sites and stick to walkways. Photographers shouldn’t go past posted area strings or signs, and shouldn’t spend more than 10 minutes photographing birds.
Never make birds fly or run. This wastes energy that should be used for nesting, and could leave eggs and chicks vulnerable to the environment or predators.
Don’t take pets to the beach, and if for some reason you do, keep them leashed and avoid nesting areas.
Keep the beach clean and don’t feed any animals. According to Greg Workman, Public Information Coordinator for FWC, food scraps “will attract predators” which can prey on shorebird chicks. Litter can also trap birds and other animals.
The most important thing is to remain vigilant. “I know it’s tough when you see that beautiful water out there. You just want to run to it,” said Workman. “But take that extra second and do a precautionary scan and look at where you’re at.”
The FWC is asking people to spread the word. If you see anyone disturbing nesting birds, ask them to stop. If they don’t, report it to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC(3922).
If you see a nest that’s not posted report it to Wildlife Alert.
For more info go to MyFWC.com/Shorebirds or flshorebirdalliance.org.
Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2016