Shorebirds are back for 2024

June 8, 2024 —

Hello!

Hopefully everyone is having a great start to June! The birds absolutely are! 

We officially have chicks on 2 islands! Reminder – chicks are like toddlers! They won’t stay inside the nesting zone and have been known to hide rather than run so please take care and watch where you step when you are in an area that has nesting birds! Also, July 4th is coming up! I am always in need of more hands on the beach, especially with 4 active and flourishing sites! We have a special 4th of July training coming up and would love to see some new faces. If you or someone you know is interested in Shorebird Stewardship, tell them to reach out to me! We recorded our most recent training and it is available to anyone interested, but to register for the July 4th holiday training on June 26th at 6:30pm, click the link below!  

https://audubon.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAldOCsrTksHtdDNqD_hKy2HeKGy5TPlj4c

Also, if you haven’t already checked out your local paper, make sure you read about our local shorebirds in Siesta Sand or the Observer for Longboat Key! There articles are also linked below!

https://www.yourobserver.com/news/2024/jun/06/stewards-help-protect-nesting-shorebirds-from-human-and-animal-threats

Stewards help protect nesting shorebirds from threats | Your ObserverWith nesting season in full effect, the Sarasota shorebird steward coordinator explains how volunteers can protect the vulnerable birds.www.yourobserver.com

Longboat:

Longboat’s Least Tern colony seems comfortable! With somewhere between 15 to 20 nests, the nesting zone has expanded greatly. Adults have been seen going after people on the east, north, and south sides of the nesting zone. Unfortunately, the east path has been closed to help eliminate stress to the birds, but the waterline is still very passable, and there is a path behind the dune line as well. A crow’s nest has been seen in the area, so false crow effigies were placed and shown to the crows. Hopefully, this will help with any possible predation. Chick shelters were also placed, and more are on the way! Chicks should be sprouting up at this location sometime next week!

N. Lido:

As always, I come with great news from our Black Skimmer colony! Today’s count was 250+ chicks!!! Some are very large and mobile, while others are just breaking out of their shells! There are still about 1,000 adults out there, and the colony is definitely chatty. Crow effigies have been hung along the back side of the colony to help with the inevitable predation, so I will be keeping a close eye on any future crow meddling. Chicks are starting to wander away from the adults, so please watch where you step near this colony! Beachgoers are still loving these birds, and our stewards are enjoying this site. Make sure you stop and ask them about the birds! Peep these little cuties!

S. Lido:

I’ve always loved an underdog, and this location was the underdog of the season! It’s back! After predation management, crow effigies have been hung throughout the colony. I will be keeping very close tabs to ensure their effectiveness. The latest counts showed 62 adults and 29 nests, making it the busiest active Least Tern colony in Sarasota. What determined little birds! With more and more birds and nests every day, this site will be a great spot to see our comeback heroes! 

Siesta:

The struggle and success of Siesta continues! With somewhere around 7 nests, 4 have already hatched, and for the first time in 8 years, little Least Tern feet can be seen stumbling and fumbling around this island! Just look at these cuties! There are currently 8 chicks, all very well hidden in the vegetation. These are the first Least Tern chicks of the season, and I cannot wait for more! A game camera was also placed at this site, and after reviewing the footage, it was discovered that a coyote has been in the colony multiple nights in a row. Hopefully, hiding in the vegetation is the trick these little feet need!

Stay cool and hydrated! I will be crossing my fingers for the rain next week! See you on the beach!

Emily Briner
Sarasota Shorebird Steward Coordinator
440-865-1700
emily.briner@audubon.org
Audubon Florida, Sarasota, FL
FLbeachbirds.org