Help endangered shorebirds get a shot at survival

Published: Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 04:23 PM.

There have been eight snowy plover nests so far and of those five chicks have fledged and another seven chicks are expected in the coming weeks. This is the most nesting that has been seen at this park since the Florida Park Service has been keeping records. Park biologists and staff have been working diligently to ensure the success of this colony.

This is where you come in. The success of this colony and these birds rests upon public awareness. The public driving portion of Grayton Beach is a very popular place during the 4th of July, and it just so happens that it coincides with the bulk of the nest hatchings within the colony.

Our main concern is the large crowds and the use of fireworks associated with the holiday. Fireworks and nesting shorebirds do not mix; they can cause confusion, panic, and leave flightless chicks without protection. Fireworks launched toward the park and into the nesting colonies may even cause nest/chick abandonment or colony abandonment.

In order to help us protect these birds we simply ask that you not shoot fireworks into the park, keep your dogs on a leash and out of the park (where they aren’t allowed), and do not cross any rope barriers that are established to protect colonies.

You will immediately know when you have ventured into an area that you shouldn’t by the sight of nearly 300 birds swirling about and diving at you.

These simple steps will also help as you are enjoying our beautiful beaches.

• Keep your distance: If birds become agitated and leave their nests then you are too close, this also leaves their eggs and chicks vulnerable to predators and the summer heat.

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