Siesta Key Weekly Shorebird Update

April 12 —

Hello everyone! I hope you all enjoyed the holiday weekend, the weather was absolutely beautiful today! 
I will jump right into it. Sadly, Ms. Sanibel lost her nest this past week. I had a camera monitoring the nest so I know that a dog went into the buffer which may have led to her abandoning the nest and opening it up for predation. There were also some ghost crab holes near the scrape. If her nesting record from last season was any indication, she will likely try again and soon! Predation is unfortunately a regular and natural threat to the plovers. Human disturbance and off-leash dogs, on the other hand, are something we can work on! Please spread the message that it is breeding season and dogs are a huge disturbance to nesting birds and should not be on the beaches!

Out on Lido there were the usual group of Skimmers (~350) congregating next where they have nested the past few seasons. The courting, copulating and scraping continues. I managed to get a photo of a potential pair standing side by side. You can really see the size difference between the sexes, males are a fair bit larger.

^Black Skimmers are pairing up on Lido. Males are larger than females, easily seen when the two are side by side. 
But the most exciting news from this week is the return of the Least Terns! There have been groups on Lido and at a site on Longboat Key. All over the state Least Terns have been arriving and “staging”, a term used to describe when they set up shop in a nesting area. Beach-nesting birds have high site fidelity meaning they return to the same spots season after season, when they are successful. The Least Terns did well last season so they are returning to nest again and I am hopeful that they will once again have success on our local beaches! 

^Least Terns staging near a pre-posted area on Lido. Hopefully they will decide to nest in the buffer!! 
Sending my best to you all, stay safe!


Kylie Wilson
Program Coordinator
Bird Monitoring & Stewardship
(941) 266 – 5407
Audubon Florida
Sarasota, FL