Special Edition: May 2020 Wrack Line Newsletter

May 2020 Cover

FSA News

Like all Floridians, our lives and work have been impacted by the global pandemic. As partners in shorebird conservation, many of our routine breeding season activities have been disrupted. Although bird monitoring, stewarding and management have been impacted in a variety of ways, many of us are finding ways to continue work with additional safety protocols in place.

What has not been impacted by this crisis is the ability to be a shorebird-friendly beachgoer. During the spring and summer, shorebirds and seabirds depend on beaches and coasts to raise the next generation of young. With Memorial Day weekend here and unprecedented numbers of beachgoers, all Floridians are being invited to lead by example by being good stewards of the beach.

Boaters and beachgoers can make a big difference for Florida’s vulnerable nesting shorebirds and seabirds by taking simple steps:

  • Keep your distance from birds, on the beach and on the water. If birds become agitated or leave their nests, you are too close. Birds calling out loudly and dive-bombing are signals to back away and keep a respectful distance.
  • Respect posted areas. When possible, stay at least 300 feet from a posted nesting area.  Avoid entering any area marked with signs for nesting birds and use designated walkways.
  • Do not enter Critical Wildlife Areas. CWAs are established to give wildlife the space needed for nesting, roosting and foraging. They are clearly marked with signs or buoys to alert boaters to areas that are closed to public access.
  • Avoid intentionally forcing birds to fly or run. This causes them to use energy needed for nesting, and eggs and chicks may be left vulnerable to the sun’s heat or predators. Teach children to let shorebirds and seabirds rest, instead of chasing them, and encourage fellow beachgoers to do the same. Shorebirds and seabirds outside of posted areas may be feeding or resting and need to do so without disturbance.
  • It is best to not take pets to the beach, but if you do, keep them leashed and avoid shorebird and seabird nesting areas. Pets are not permitted on most beaches, including state park beaches, so always check and be respectful of local rules when preparing for a day at the beach.
  • Keep the beach clean and do not feed wildlife. Food scraps attract predators, such as raccoons and crows, which can prey on shorebird eggs and chicks. Litter on beaches can entangle birds and other wildlife.
  • Spread the word. Let your friends and family know how important it is to give shorebirds space and share the message on social media!
  • Report disturbance of nesting birds to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or by texting Tip@MyFWC.com. You can also report nests that are not posted to our Wildlife Alert Program.

FSD banner

FSD Updates

The 2020 breeding season is unusual, and this season’s data will reflect this. Because we expect the data to be anomalous this year, each observation is even more important. Here are a few ways you may be able to help:

  • Every observation is important. Even if you are not monitoring regularly, you can still enter data into the FSD. Every single observation contains valuable information about breeding shorebirds and seabirds, regardless of whether those observations are made during a count window or a partial route survey.
  • Prompt data entry helps. Partners who are monitoring can help by entering data into the FSD as promptly as possible. This will help us identify some of the gaps in monitoring coverage this year.
  • Note what you see. Situations at breeding sites may be different this year. In addition to the breeding data, you can tell us what you see using the optional fields at the bottom of every visit form. You can also use the comments fields to share more information about your surveys.

Ebb Tidings