American Oystercatchers. Photo: Muhammad Faizan/Audubon Photography Awards
American Oystercatchers. Photo: Muhammad Faizan/Audubon Photography Awards


A Colorful Way to Help Keep Shorebirds Safe

Calling all young bird lovers in New York! We need your creativity to help beach-nesting birds.

At Audubon, our job is to be good stewards. A steward is a person that looks after the wellbeing of others—that can mean humans, land, or animals. 

Our trained beach bird stewards spend their days at the beach looking for threatened or endangered birds and their babies, and helping us protect them.

Would you like to join us as a virtual beach bird steward?

In early spring, when we notice birds returning to our beaches from far-away places like the Bahamas, our stewards help staff protect shorebird and seabird nesting areas with string fencing, made up of stakes connected with string and flagging. We also install educational signs with information about the birds nesting there and why the area is closed to the public. This is where we need your help!

String fencing. Photo: Amanda Pachomski/Audubon

Show Your Support with a Beach Bird Sign

Creative signs are a great way to make sure people notice the string fencing, and understand why it's important to keep out (and keep their pups on a leash). But beach visitors come from close by and far away, so we want to see signs in windows, on walls, and on social media across the state! Don't forget to include #ShareTheShore.

Can you help beach-nesting birds by making an eye-catching sign? 

Follow these easy steps.

Step 1: Learn the Birds by Name

There are certain birds that need our protection more than others, and unfortunately many shorebird and seabird species are considered threatened, endangered, or at-risk. Here are a few of them for you familiarize yourself with:

Photos (left to right): Christopher Ciccone/Audubon Photography Awards; Kathy Cline/Audubon Photography Awards; Scott Keys/Audubon Photography Awards

Step 2: Pick a Format

We would like YOUR help making signs of all types that explain why we need to #ShareTheShore with birds! You can draw your own pictures or add beautiful color to an illustration of your choice. Get ready to be creative!

Decide on your sign design: we have pre-made, printable coloring sheets for younger bird enthusiasts, or you can create your own bird image. All signs are equally valuable in spreading the message to Share the Shore. 

For a similar video showing how to draw a Piping Plover, click here!

Step 3: Pick a Bird

There are several shorebirds and seabirds to choose from. There are the nesting birds we introduced above, like Piping Plovers, American Oystercatcher, and Least Terns, and there are migratory birds like the Semipalmated Sandpiper or Ruddy Turnstone. 

Step 4: Add Background

No bird can survive without a safe home! Add background habitat, like sand, water, or beach plants to your sign.  You can even show some examples of disturbances—things that frighten or cause trouble for these birds while they are nesting on the beach. An off-leash dog or trash on a beach can be dangerous for these birds.

Step 5: Add a Message

Add in a message that you think will encourage others to help keep nesting birds safe. By bringing attention to the birds and the importance of the fencing, more beachgoers will learn how to have fun responsibly. Popular ones include:

  • Share the Love, Share the Shore
  • Give Birds Space to Nest and Rest
  • Birds are nesting here!
  • Please keep dogs on a leash
  • Respect the nest!

Step 6: Show Off Your Work

Share your shorebird sign with family and friends, however you are best able. Also send your artwork our way and we may even share with our network! Post it on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter using the hashtag #ShareTheShore, and don't forget to tag us! We cannot wait to see your amazing artwork. 

Details for sharing: 

More sign examples for inspiration: 

How you can help, right now