As we welcome the long, Memorial Day weekend, please remember to keep an eye out as baby birds are beginning to hatch. When visiting the beach, looking out for chicks becomes that much more difficult as many of the tiny hatchlings are camouflaged by sand and rocks. With summer approaching, I remind you to share the shore with these vulnerable species, such as the state endangered Piping Plover.
These migratory shorebirds- including the American Oystercatcher, Least Tern, and several other priority species- have returned to the coasts of Long Island to nest and raise their young. An exciting update: a pair of Piping Plovers have also returned to the shore of Lake Ontario – the same female that was seen there in 2017! There are simple ways that you can help protect beach-nesting birds during this important time of year:
- Respect protected areas and signs. Birds, eggs, nests and chicks are well-camouflaged and disturbance by people and their pets can cause birds to abandon their eggs and young.
- Avoid disturbing groups of birds that are nesting or feeding. If birds take flight, call loudly or act agitated it means you are too close.
- Always aim to keep your dog on a leash and away from the birds. Shorebirds perceive people and pets as predators.
- Please don’t leave trash or fishing line on the beach. Take your trash with you and place in an appropriate trash container. Trash attracts real predators such as gulls, crows, raccoons and foxes. Fishing line entangles and kills birds.
Join us in these efforts, and take the pledge to Be a Good Egg. You will be rewarded with the spectacle of wild birds and the excitement that unfolds with every nesting season.
Ana Paula Tavares
Audubon NY and Audubon CT
VP and Senior Advisor to International Alliances
National Audubon Society
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SPOTLIGHT ON BIRDATHON
Statewide, nearly 200 bird species were spotted during this year’s annual Audubon New York Birdathon. Throughout the month, Audubon staff and partners participated in birding events across New York, raising funds to support Audubon New York’s mission. Donate today in support of our conservation work.