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Snowy plover and Wilson’s plover nesting on Sanibel

July 14, 2011
Submitted by Joel Caouette, SCCF Biologist

Snowy Plover nesting season began in February. There have been 15 nests so far. So far this year, there are 11 fledglings from five nests; last year, there were only seven fledglings for the whole season. One nest is incubating and one nest has two chicks. Six nests were predated; one had eggs that were not viable; one was washed out and then predated.

This year, SCCF is also monitoring Wilson's plover nests. There have been two nests: one has hatched, with three chicks and a second nest has fledged three chicks. Nesting season will continue until mid-August and it is important that beachgoers help to protect these endangered shorebirds.

Please keep a few things in mind as you enjoy the beach:

Article Photos

A snowy plover and her two chicks nesting on a beach.

- Honor the leash law. An unleashed dog can kill an adult bird or chick or trample a nest.

- Respect marked nesting areas. Too much human disturbance can cause birds to abandon their nest. Always remain outside of the staked area.

- Avoid flying kites near nesting areas. Plovers view kites as predators. A kite flying overhead can cause a bird to abandon its nest.

- Never chase birds on the beach. Shorebirds use the beach to nest, rest, and feed. Forcing them to fly interferes with all of these activities.

- Fill in holes. Holes on the beach can trap chicks unable to fly. If trapped, chicks can die from predators or exposure.

Learn more about these nesting shorebirds at SCCF's "Snowy Plovers" program, offered on July 23 at 10 a.m.

SCCF (the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) monitors the summer nesting seasons of snowy plovers, Wilson's plover and sea turtles. SCCF is dedicated to the conservation of coastal habitats and aquatic resources on Sanibel and Captiva and in the surrounding watershed through environmental education, land acquisition, landscaping for wildlife, marine research, natural resource policy, sea turtle conservation and wildlife habitat management. Community support through membership dues and tax-deductible contributions, in addition to grants and staff-generated revenue, makes this work possible.



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