Being a beach-nesting bird can be stressful, as shown in this video from BirdLife International. Give beach-nesting birds a breather, and stay away from their nesting areas.
This Memorial Day weekend, the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is asking everyone to "Fish, Swim, and Play from 50 Yards Away,” to help beach-nesting birds.
"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, in the ABC press release. ""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. 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.”
One of the beach-nesting birds is the American Oystercatcher, pictured here.
What are some ways to recognize a nesting bird from any other bird hanging out on the beach? The American Bird Conservancy provided clues when you’ve entered a nesting area:
- Large groups or individual birds vocalize loudly
- Birds dive-bomb your head
- Birds feign injury to lead you away from their nests
You can identify nesting birds based on what beach you're visiting. On the Gulf Coast and Atlantic coast, you might see Least Terns, Black Skimmers, Wilson’s and Snowy Plovers and American Oystercatchers. On the Atlantic coast, you can also see Piping Plovers.
On the Pacific coast, you might see the "Western” Snowy Plover, the California Least Tern and Black Oystercatcher.
Beach-nesting birds tend to nest away from the surf, so keep an eye out as you’re wandering around looking for seashells.
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