March 2020 Wrack Line Newsletter

March 2020 Cover

FSA Partnership Meetings:

March 3: Volusia County Partnership. Email Jennifer Winters

March 5: St. Johns/Flagler Partnership. Email Jean Olbert

March 6: Space Coast Partnership. Email Anna Deyle.

March 11: Florida Keys Partnership. Email Suzy Roebling

March 12: Suncoast Partnership. Email Holley Short.

March 17: Lee/Charlotte Partnership. Email Audrey Albrecht

March 19: Southeast Partnership. Email Ricardo Zambrano

Florida Shorebird Database (FSD) Training:

March 11, 1-2pm(EST): FSD webinar for new surveyors

March 12, 1-2pm(EST): FSD webinar for returning surveyors

March 13, 1-2pm(EST): FSD webinar for rooftop monitors

Beach Stewardship Training:

March 7, 1pm: Stump Pass Beach State Park; meet at Manasota Key at the Pelican Landing Clubhouse. Email Mary Lundeberg

March 14, 9am: Ft. Desoto Stewardship Training; meet at Ft. Desoto North Beach Snack Bar. Email Holley Short

March 28, 9am: Siesta Key Stewardship Training; meet at Sea Turtle Pavilion on Siesta Key public beach. Email Holley Short

April 8, 10am: St. Johns/Flagler Steward Training; meet at St. Augustine Alligator Farm Conference Room. Email Chris Farrell

April 9, 10am: Timucuan Steward Training; meet at Ribault Club. Email Chris Farrell

April 14, 5:30pm: Three Rooker Island; meet at Moccasin Lake Nature Center. Email Holley Short

May 16, 9am: Pinellas Municipal Beaches; meet at Indian Shores City Hall. Email Holley Short


March 1: Data entry deadline for the 2020 Winter Shorebird Survey

March 13-14: 2020 Southwest Florida Birding Seminar

March 14: Birds of the Beach at Rookery Bay

FSA News


The 2020 Shorebird Breeding Season is Here!

This newsletter is all about helping you prepare for shorebird conservation and monitoring during the 2020 breeding season.  Your local partnership is organizing many activities, so please coordinate with them.  The best way to do that is to attend a partnership meeting.  If you can’t attend the meeting but would like to get involved, please contact  Here are a few ways to get started:

Be a mentor, or team up with one.  Does your partnership have new members?  If so, encourage them to join a local bird steward program or bring them along on a monitoring survey.  If you're a new member, check with your partnership for training and mentoring opportunities. 

Get posting supplies.  Do you have the posting supplies you need to cover your areas?  Let your FWC regional shorebird contact know if you need signs (see our sign selection)

Get outreach materials.  There are posters, brochures, coloring books, rooftop signs for businesses, etc. (see selection).  Your FWC regional office may have them in stock.

Prepare for route surveys.  If you have an assigned route, will you be able to survey it during all 6 count windows?  If not, please find someone to fill in for you (or contact us for help).  Remember to coordinate survey plans with your local partnership and register for a route or rooftop training webinar.  

Prepare for roof monitoring.  Can you help monitor rooftops with nesting birds? If so, coordinate with your partnership or contact us.  Please let us know if roofs are no longer suitable for nesting (ex: building was torn down or re-roofed).

Read on for more details about getting involved this season...


Posting Nest Sites

“Posting” means to install a symbolic fence of signs and rope around a nest or colony.  Posting is often the best tool to protect beach-nesting birds from human disturbance on popular beaches and islands.  “Pre-posting” a section of the beach to give the birds an undisturbed place to initiate nesting is also a great tool, especially if you want to attract birds to a protected spot before they establish nests.

If you find a shorebird nest or seabird colony that has not yet been posted, please notify the local land manager or your FWC regional shorebird contact immediately so that it can be posted.  Parks usually have their own preferred signs and posting materials, but if not (or if the nest is on private property), supplies and assistance can be requested by contacting your FWC regional shorebird biologist. Check out our sign selection – many can be printed off and laminated. Remember to seek landowner’s permission to post on private property.

Detailed posting instructions are available on the FSA website.

Photo: Britt Brown

Beach Stewards

Bird Stewarding and Outreach

One of the greatest threats beach-nesting shorebirds face is disturbance from people, pets, and vehicles in the nesting area. Under these circumstances, signs posted around the nests are not enough to prevent people from disturbing nesting birds, and it requires time and effort from caring individuals, or beach stewards, to monitor the nests and chicks.

Shorebird steward programs are organized by shorebird partnerships throughout Florida. Where and when bird stewards will be needed is not fully determined until the birds have started nesting. This usually starts in March and can run into September, depending on the bird species. Stewarding begins after the nests and colonies are located and posted by biologists. Although the greatest needs for stewards is on weekends and holidays, stewarding can be done anytime an area has active shorebird nesting. While out on the beaches, stewards carry out two important tasks: 1) minimizing disturbance to the nests, and 2) informing the public about beach nesting birds.

To volunteer as a bird steward this season, please check this map to see if there is a steward program near you.  If so, please call or email the program contact to get involved.  If there is not a bird steward program near you, contact us about starting one.  In addition to stewards, land managers and private citizens can also do a lot to educate others about beach-nesting birds.  We have outreach materials to help you get the message out to beach drivers, photographers, and pedestrians on the beach.

Photo: Bonnie Samuelsen


Breeding Bird Surveys and Training

Florida’s official shorebird monitoring program begins this month, with the first count window from March 18th – 24th.  Everything you need to know to participate in the monitoring program can be found on the Florida Shorebird Database (FSD) website.

The website’s INSTRUCTIONS tab details what the monitoring program involves.  The RESOURCES page contains videos on data entry and the Breeding Bird Protocol (BBP), which explains the monitoring process and includes data sheets.

All volunteers are encouraged to register for a training webinar.  The March 11th webinar is for new volunteers who plan to survey a specific route (usually along the beach).  The March 12th webinar is for returning volunteers and includes important updates to the BBP and FSD interface.  The March 13th webinar is for volunteers who plan to monitor rooftops and includes important updates to the rooftop section of the BBP and FSD interface .

All webinars are from 1-2pm Eastern.  

Details and instructions will be emailed to registered participants prior to the webinars.

Register now for the 2020 webinars!

Photo: Bonnie Samuelsen

Rooftop Monitoring

Rooftop Monitoring and Outreach

Many seabirds and shorebirds nest on gravel rooftops in Florida, making rooftop monitoring and outreach important components of our work.  There are hundreds of rooftops throughout the state where seabirds have historically nested, and we need your help monitoring them.  If you are willing to check on a nearby rooftop, please contact your local partnership to learn where you can assist.  If you would like to become a monthly rooftop monitor, March - August, please review the rooftop section of the Breeding Bird Protocol

If you see shorebirds or seabirds flying to or from a rooftop, the birds are likely nesting on that roof.  It is important to talk to the property owners or managers, to help make them aware of the protected species nesting on their roof.  The building’s residents or employees can alert you if there are falling chicks or other issues, so it’s important to talk to them early in the season and leave a phone number they can call.  We have signs, letters, postcards, and other Rooftop Resources to help you with outreach.

At rooftops where birds nest every year, there may be things you can do to prepare for the upcoming season.  First, please remind the property owner to schedule rooftop repairs or air conditioning maintenance the month before the birds arrive.  Also, some partnerships are “chick-proofing” rooftops, so please contact your local partnership to see if they need help.

If you see chicks falling off the roof, they should be returned to the rooftop as soon as possible.  Please consult the Chick-Checking Manual for further instructions.

Photo: Bonnie Samuelsen

FSD banner

FSD Updates

The Florida Shorebird Database is Open for the Season!

The breeding season is here and the first Breeding Bird Protocol Count Window is March 18-24. Before entering your breeding data, you may want to do a little spring cleaning of your Florida Shorebird Database (FSD) account:

Thank you for your dedication to shorebird and seabird conservation. May the 2020 nesting season be highly productive!

Ebb Tidings


Calling All Shorebird Lovers!

The 2020 breeding season is here. There are many ways to get involved in conserving Florida's charismatic shorebirds and seabirds. You're participation is a vital contribution to successful shorebird nesting!

If you would like to get involved in the 2020 breeding season activities, email for more information about your local partnership and opportunities.

You can also learn about local efforts by joining the flock on social media: Florida Shorebird Alliance Facebook Group.

Photo: Alex Kropp