Please Protect the Plover: How to Help Save our Shorebirds

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Forty-five isn’t a lot.

That’s approximately how many Snowy Plover nesting pairs are left on the Southwest Gulf Coast of Florida. You read that correctly. Only 45.

The beaches of Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands serve as a home for six of these too-rare pairs, and you can help protect their nests and eggs, as well as those of other shorebirds. Check out these simple tips for protecting wildlife during your beach trip.

  • Shorebird nesting season runs from February through August, and sea turtles nest from May through October. Rather than building obvious nests, these species dig shallow holes, and the eggs are the same color as the sand. That means it’s very easy to step right on top of one! Besides being on the lookout for signs or roped-off areas, keep your eyes peeled for areas that have not yet been discovered or posted.
  • Keep your pets on leashes, out of nesting areas and away from the temptation to scare colonies or solitary birds who may be feeding, resting or incubating eggs.
  • Stay clear of birds displaying aggressive behaviors such as diving at people, screeching loudly or even acting injured in attempts to lure danger from the nesting site.
  • If you observe such behavior, back away as quickly and quietly as possible. Birds will quickly abandon nesting sites if they are disturbed.

And remember, as Stewart Udall once quoted, “Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man.”


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