Little Estero, nearby beaches posted to protect nesting shorebirds
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Media contact: Gary Morse, 863-648-3200
Every year, imperiled shorebirds nest on Florida beaches from
about April 1, through Aug. 31. Little Estero Critical
Wildlife Area (CWA) and other nearby nesting sites on Fort Myers
Beach are posted during this critical period to help protect the
nests of these highly vulnerable and increasingly rare species.
On March 25, staff from the Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission (FWC), the city of Fort Myers Beach, the
Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Lee County, and
local volunteers installed temporary fencing and signs around
nesting sites on the CWA, and on private property - with the
permission and cooperation of landowners. Fencing and signs
help ensure that people and shorebirds have an opportunity to share
the beach without serious conflict.
Shorebirds such as least terns and snowy plovers lay their
well-camouflaged eggs directly on the sand, making them nearly
invisible to predators and to the untrained human eye. Any
disturbance by people, pets or vehicles - accidental or otherwise -
can cause these birds to abandon their nests, resulting in
unhatched eggs and the death of young chicks.
"Beachgoers can do their part by staying out of the posted areas
and leaving their dogs at home. Dogs are prohibited within the CWA,
even in areas open to pedestrians," said Nancy Douglass, an FWC
nongame wildlife biologist.
Nesting areas are closed off by "symbolic fencing," which
consists of signs connected by twine, marked with flagging
tape. Closed beach areas may shift during the nesting season,
depending on where the birds have chosen to lay eggs at any given
"We want to thank, in particular, those private property owners
who have so graciously supported efforts to post their beachfront
property to help protect these at-risk birds while they nest,"
Because many of Florida's shorebird species are listed as
threatened or endangered, it is a violation of state and federal
laws to harass or take any endangered or threatened birds, their
eggs or young.
If you would like more information about
living with beach-nesting shorebirds, go to MyFWC.com/Wildlife,
and download the "Co-existing with Florida's beach-nesting birds"