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No shorebird nests lost during tropical storm

By Staff | Jun 17, 2020

SCCF Snowy plover nest with chicks.

Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Shorebird Biologist Audrey Albrecht reported that no shorebird nests were lost to Tropical Storm Cristobal.

“Thank you to our amazing dedicated volunteers and staff for helping to keep an eye on our nesting shorebirds while I was away for a few days,” she said. “We were very fortunate not to lose shorebird nests when other sites in Southwest Florida lost entire colonies to the storm.”

On June 10, she reported that the islands had at least six least tern nests, which survived the storm and high tides and will hopefully be hatching soon.

There were four broods of snowy plover chicks. The oldest chicks are learning to fly, and the youngest were just 1-week-old as of last week. The last active nest was reported gone as of June 9, with both human and canine tracks inside the enclosure. A Wilson’s plover nest was also noted as gone on June 9 at Clam Bayou, but not due to the storm.

Some postings were damaged in the storm and were removed from the beach in order to prevent them from washing out to sea. Plover chicks are precocial, or born able to feed themselves, and start running around just hours after hatching. Though they do sometimes use the posted area after hatching, the broods are quite mobile and travel great distances.

“If it is necessary, we will put up some new postings to offer the birds a safe place to rest when beaches are crowded now that the storm has passed,” Albrecht said.

Last week was the June count window for the Florida Shorebird Alliance state nesting shorebird surveys, so the SCCF was surveying all of Captiva and Sanibel.

For questions about shorebirds, email shorebirds@sccf.org.