Right now, many coastal birds are also using our beaches and coastal islands to nest and raise their young. Due to the stay-at-home orders necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Audubon’s staff and volunteers have been unable to monitor beaches on a regular basis, informing beachgoers every year to give beach-nesting birds their space. For this reason, Audubon is calling on the public to help make our beaches safer for birds by avoiding their nesting areas.
“Some California counties are easing into reopening their beaches just as threatened bird species like the Snowy Plover are nesting,” said Andrea Jones, director of bird conservation for Audubon California. “These threatened birds need a few more undisturbed weeks to fledge their chicks and finish a memorably successful nesting season. Every beachgoer needs to remember to keep a safe distance not just from each other, respect the symbolic fencing that has been installed because adult birds and their chicks need peace and quiet.”
On the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts, Audubon’s Coastal Bird Stewardship Program engages local communities to protect beach-nesting birds from predators and disturbance, like off-leash dogs or fireworks. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Audubon is adhering to all local and state guidelines for beach closures, social distancing, and stay-at-home orders.
“Social distancing is not just important for people—it’s important that we keep our distance from nesting birds too,” said Karen Hyun, vice president for coastal conservation at the National Audubon Society. “Through education, monitoring and conservation, Audubon’s Coastal Bird Stewardship Program is key to ensuring that coastal birds can nest safely on our beaches. This year, we’re relying on our coastal communities to do their part to share the shore.”
Here are four tips for making our beaches safer for birds:
- Avoid areas that have been fenced off for nesting birds and if you see Snowy Plovers outside of fenced areas, give birds plenty of space by walking around them.
- If pets are permitted on beaches, keep them leashed and away from birds.
- Remove trash and food scraps, which attract animals that might eat shorebirds’ eggs and/or chicks.
- Do not drive on beach dunes or other nesting areas.
As community leaders, Audubon takes seriously our personal and organizational responsibility to help stop the spread of COVID-19. As a result, we have closed all of our offices and centers, cancelled all events and have restricted many stewardship and monitoring activities to prioritize the safety of our staff, volunteers, and communities.
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @audubonsociety.
Contact: Jason Howe, firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-595-9245
Media Relations Manager, Pacific and Central Flyways
National Audubon Society