FWC advises giving shorebirds birds space during Memorial Day Weekend

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The birds and their eggs are typically well-camouflaged.

If you’re concerned about the health and well-being of imperiled beach-nesting birds on Florida’s beaches, the first thing to do is avoiding bringing a motor vehicle onto the beach. The second is to keep pets at home.

But considering that Florida allows beach driving, including in some state parks, and some beaches allow for pets, there are other methods Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officials suggest for people over the holiday weekend to leave these federally and state protected birds alone to care for themselves, their eggs and hatchlings.

That begins with simply staying away, keeping at least 300 feet between yourself and nesting birds, and staying out of posted areas.

The birds and their eggs are typically well-camouflaged among the sand, shells, washed-up vegetation and grasses, so officials cordon off areas with signs to alert people not to venture where the birds are nesting or are likely to nest.

While it’s hard to see such a nest before running it over in a vehicle, people walking on the beach should take care about where they walk, in case birds are nesting outside of the protected area.

“Getting too close to nesting shorebirds, seabirds and wading birds can cause them to flush from their breeding sites, leaving vulnerable eggs and chicks exposed to the elements and predators,” according to the FWC. “Egg temperatures can increase to lethal levels after just a few minutes of direct sun exposure.”

People on the beach near protected areas should take care with their noise, as well, as that can disturb the birds. And while avoiding littering should be a standard regardless of the wildlife, officials advise that leaving trash and bits of food can attract predators like raccoons that may then turn their attention to the nests.

“Fishing line can be deadly to waterbirds, sea turtles and other wildlife, so be sure to dispose of it properly,” according to the FWC. “To find a monofilament recycling station near you, visit mrrp.myfwc.com.”

People interested in more information about coexisting with beach-nesting birds can check out the FWC brochure “Share the Beach with Beach-Nesting Birds.” Those who’d like to get involved in shorebird conservation should check out the suggestions at FLShorebirdAlliance.org.

Wes Wolfe

Wes Wolfe is a reporter who's worked for newspapers across the South, winning press association awards for his work in Georgia and the Carolinas. He lives in Jacksonville and previously covered state politics, environmental issues and courts for the News-Leader in Fernandina Beach. You can reach Wes at [email protected] and @WesWolfeFP. Facebook: facebook.com/wes.wolfe

One comment

  • Dont Say FLA

    May 27, 2023 at 9:45 am

    Why do these birds think they can have MY space? I will stand my ground. I will never back down. Some bird gets in my space, I will shoot a bird.

Comments are closed.


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