Season ends with over 315 fledged chicks
September 23, 2023 —
I hope everyone fared okay with the storm. Sadly, the late season chicks were not observed after Hurricane Idalia passed. The storm surge, coupled with king high tides, resulted in the beach being washed over and I fear the sure was too much for the still flightless chicks.
Late season nests are typically re-nests, where the pair tries to nest again after a disturbance or predation event caused the first nest to fail. These late season chicks started to hatch around the first week of August, meaning these nests would have been laid after the 4th of July. Independence Day weekend commonly results in disturbances to nesting shorebirds and seabirds nationwide. The consequence: pairs re-nest in July, with chicks hatching in August, and still flightless as we enter storm season. Hurricanes are happening unseasonably early and are more intense. Late season nesting is risky, and sadly our last chicks didn’t make it. Still, we had a pretty great year, all things considered, with more than 315 fledged chicks from our colony.
Although nesting is over, it is still important to be mindful of the birds on the beach. The gulf coast beaches act as stopover sites for migrating birds. Many birds are stopping at our beaches to rest and refuel, especially after going through a storm. So, throughout the year remember there are ways to help shorebirds and seabirds:
- walk around feeding and resting flocks – these birds are possibly making transcontinental journeys and need to conserve their energy, so please walk around them
- only take pets to designated parks – dogs, especially off leash, can be a major disturbance to shorebirds
- spread awareness – If you see someone disturbing the birds, kindly explain why this is problematic and ask them to change their behavior. This is stewardship in a nutshell and being an informed member of the community, you have the knowledge to help educate others.
This will be my last update and with my seasonal position coming to an end, I will no longer have access to this email address. I have copied my personal email here so anyone who would like to can stay in touch. For questions or more information about Audubon’s shorebird program please contact Holley Short (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thanks to everyone for the kind words and support over the season, and thanks for your interest in our beach-nesting birds!
Kylie Wilson, Shorebird Coordinator
Pronouns: she, her
Audubon Florida, Sarasota, FL