June Wrack Line Newsletter

June cover photo

FSA News

Sanibel Inspires Beachgoers to Share the Shore with Shorebirds

-Veronica Runge, City of Sanibel

The City of Sanibel, in partnership with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, J.N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society, and Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Society, invite you to view our new animated shorebird conservation video! This short, educational video highlights the threats shorebirds face every day on Florida beaches and showcases simple ways residents and visitors can be good neighbors to shorebirds and other coastal wildlife!

Watch the Sanibel Shorebird Conservation Video Now

Sanibel video image

Sanibel is a coastal barrier island sanctuary on the Southwest Florida coast whose diverse population lives in harmony with the island’s wildlife and natural habitats. Sanibel’s Vision Statement promises to oppose human activities that might harm the island’s sensitive wildlife habitats including approximately 15-miles of shoreline that is home to threatened shorebird species including snowy plovers, least terns, and Wilson’s plovers. Like most beaches around Florida, the island’s shorebird species are facing significant threats from habitat loss, depredation, and human interference in nesting activities.

The Sanibel Shorebird Conservation Partnership identified a need for a powerful, short visual education tool that would invite children and adults to partner in shorebird conservation best management practices. Working with a Florida-based animation studio, our ideas and vision were brought to life! This is the first comprehensive video to summarize the direct threats shorebirds face on Florida beaches and empowers the viewer to take action to help shorebirds survive.

The video focuses on two central themes that we thought would resonate with viewers—the importance of a safe “home” and the shorebird “family” with which we share the beach. If we want beachgoers to care about wildlife, then we have to show viewers how wildlife like the snowy plover family in the video use the beach as their home and habitat to raise and protect their family while highlighting very simple ways residents and visitors can help shorebirds thrive. The video showcases critical habitats protected on Sanibel such as the wrack line and the diversely vegetated dune system which provide shorebirds and other wildlife critical food and shelter.

As conservation educators, we can attract more viewers and increase the diversity of our audience when we design educational materials to keep the attention span of the average viewer (less than 2 minutes) and to appeal to viewers of all ages and backgrounds. Engaging and memorable video messaging can be highly effective. To date, the video analytics reveal that nearly all viewers watched the video until the content ended, approximately 1.5 minutes. The video is shared on each partner website and has also been promoted in a variety of newsletters, social media posts, and press releases. Signs posting shorebird areas on Sanibel include a scannable QR-code that links directly to our video. In just a few months, the video has proven to be a powerful tool for educating both residents and visitors. 

The Sanibel Shorebird Conservation Partnership invites you to share our video and conservation messaging! With your help we can all share the shore and help our shorebird neighbors survive.


  • Give wildlife space. Stay out of posted nesting areas and keep your distance from nesting shorebirds and other wildlife areas. Fly kites away from posted areas.
  • Keep your dog on a leash and away from posted nesting areas. Unleashed dogs may cause harm to vulnerable shorebird chicks.
  • Never chase wildlife. Forcing birds to fly wastes precious energy reserves needed for nesting and migration. Flushing birds may also lead to nest abandonment and leave eggs and nestlings vulnerable to predators and the hot Florida sun.
  • Do not feed wildlife. Food scraps attract predators such as crows and gulls to the area, which prey on shorebirds and their hatchlings.
  • Secure trash that may injure or entrap wildlife.
  • Remove all beach furniture and equipment from the beach by 9pm to avoid nesting obstacles or wildlife entrapments.
  • Fill holes/level sandcastles after your beach day. Flightless chicks and sea turtle hatchlings and may fall into holes and become trapped.
  • Leave the wrack line undisturbed to provide shorebirds food and critical habitat.
  • Keep off the dune vegetation. Beach vegetation protects wildlife and our homes from coastal erosion.
  • Leave personal fireworks at home and attend an official display instead. The loud sounds and bright lights of close-range fireworks on Florida’s beaches can have catastrophic effects on nesting birds and sea turtles.
  • Teach visitors, neighbors, and children these conservation tips!

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FSD Updates

Count Window

June 10-16 is the June count window for the Breeding Bird Protocol.  Whenever possible, weekly surveys are preferred for routes with active nesting; it helps capture information about peak counts. 

Entering Data in the FSD

Thank you to partners who have entered data! Each and every observation contributes valuable information about the birds, especially in an unusual monitoring season. Please continue to enter data promptly, if you can. Read on for a few handy tips about data entry at this point in the season!

Count Types

If you have found yourself puzzling over count types, you are not alone! For instance, it can be difficult to know when to record a direct count of zero (0) versus “Did Not Count”, especially when documenting additional potential breeding adults on route surveys. Use a zero when you looked for but did not observe the target species during the survey. Recording “Did Not Count” indicates that you either (a) could not verify if there were or were not any of the target species present, or (b) no consistent effort was made to count the target species during the survey. Both are valid counts options, it just depends on the circumstances of your survey. Want to know more? Check out the Quick Guide to Count Types, available on the Resources page on the FSD website.

Chick Data

It’s chick season! The best place to enter chick data in the FSD depends on the species and location of the chick:

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We are always happy to help answer any questions about data entry. If you’re unsure about anything, just email FLShorebirdDatabase@myFWC.com!

Ebb Tidings