Florida is home to many shorebirds and sea birds. Some of the common birds that nest in Pinellas County are black skimmers, least terns, American oystercatchers, Wilson plovers and snowy plovers. Many shorebirds lay their eggs in shallow depressions in the sand. This makes it easy for someone to step on the eggs or disturb the nest, which can cause adult birds to defend their eggs. Shorebird nests are protected because their populations are declining due to human activity. Seabird nesting season runs from February 15 through August 31.
You can help!
- Avoid walking near posted nesting signs. Getting to close to nests causes birds to “flush” or fly away, leaving the nest exposed to predators and the sun.
- Keep pets away from nesting areas.
- Keep the beaches clean and do not feed shorebirds.
- If you see an injured shorebird or notice a fledgling outside of the nesting area, call Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission's (FWC) Wildlife Alert hotline (888) 404-3922.
Learn about Shorebirds
- A black skimmer (Figure 1) is a shorebird that uses its specialized bill to skim the water for food.
- Least turns (Figure 2) nest in a colony so they can exchange information about food with other birds in their colony.
- The American oystercatcher is unique because it’s one of the few birds that feed on saltwater mollusks.
- Get involved! Visit the Florida Shorebird Alliance.
|Figure 1 Black Skimmer with Young Photo © Michael Stubblefield
Figure 2 Least Turn
Photo © MDC staff