December Wrack Line Newsletter

December Cover Photo


December 2 - 6: North Shore Birding Festival

December 14 - January 5: Audubon's 122nd Christmas Bird Count

FSA News

Least tern_FWC

Revised Draft Imperiled Beach-nesting Guidelines 

In September and October, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) sought public comment on draft Species Conservation Measures and Permitting Guidelines for four state-listed beach-nesting bird species including the American oystercatcher, snowy plover, least tern and black skimmer. Once approved the Guidelines will be part of Florida’s Imperiled Species Management Plan.

Species Conservation Measures and Permitting Guidelines are intended to provide information on rule requirements as they relate to permitting. They also provide information on the species’ range, survey methodology and voluntary practices that can benefit the species.

The public comment period ended and revised draft Guidelines with incorporated feedback from the public comment period will be presented to Commissioners at the December 2021 Commission Meeting. The FWC will seek Commissioner direction to continue engaging with stakeholders and to return to a future Commission Meeting for final approval. 

Read the Revised Draft Imperiled Beach-nesting Bird Guidelines here. 

Brown pelicans

Gulf Coast Audubon Chapters Produce Instructional Rescue Video for Entangled Birds 

The Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Manatee County Audubon Societies collaborated with videographer, Dee Fairbanks Simpson, to produce a short video describing the danger of fishing gear entanglement to birds, especially pelicans, and how fishermen can safely release entangled birds.

Fishing gear entanglement has been identified as the main cause of death and injury for brown pelicans in Florida by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Audubon Florida. This short video communicates and demonstrates the entanglement problem, then shows how to avoid catching a bird in fishing gear, how to carefully reel it in, and how to cut a barb off a hook or the line wrapped around a wing or foot.

If you hook a bird, don’t cut the line! Instead, follow these steps for safe release:

  • Enlist another person to help hold the bird while you unhook or disentangle it
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes
  • Secure the head firmly, fold the wings against the bird’s body gently, and hold the feet
  • Gently cover the bird’s eyes with a towel or cloth to help calm the bird, making it easier to remove the hook or line
  • Use a wire clipper to cut the barb, and back the hook out of the bird’s flesh. Cut and remove any line
  • Check the wings, legs, and body for additional hooks or line because many birds experience multiple entanglements
  • Point the bird’s head towards the water and step back as you release the bird

Watch the instructional video here on Tampa Bay Audubon YouTube.

Find additional guidance on how to respond if a seabird becomes entangled at

For more information, please contact Ann Paul, President of the Tampa Audubon Society, 813/624-3149,

Photo: Jack Rogers

FSD banner

FSD Updates

Snowy plover

Shorebird Abundance Estimates

In 2021, the FWC Shorebird Data Team calculated statewide abundance estimates for American oystercatchers, snowy plovers, and Wilson’s plovers. The estimates, which can be found in the 2021 Florida Shorebird Alliance Monitoring Data at Work annual report, provide the baseline for assessing progress toward species recovery goals.

Last month, the FWC Shorebird Data Team hosted a webinar describing the process to calculate the abundance estimates based on information available in the Florida Shorebird Database (FSD). The analysis addresses bird movement and asynchronous nesting, and produces an estimate of the number of breeding adults in Florida. The consistent, high quality data provided by FSA partners has made this analysis possible!

If you missed the webinar but still want to learn about how we estimated statewide shorebird abundance, the full webinar is available for online viewing here: 2019 Breeding Shorebird Abundance Estimates.

If you have any questions about the analysis or how we used data from the FSD, email

Ebb Tidings

Happy Holidays