HOLMES BEACH – It’s officially bird nesting season – the first snowy plovers, a threatened species in Florida, have made a nest on Anna Maria Island.
The nest is also the first snowy plover nest on the west coast of Florida this year, according to Suzi Fox, director of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring.
Three pairs of mottled ducks are visiting Bradenton Beach, two more pairs than in previous years, Fox said. The ducks are not expected to nest on the beach.
During bird nesting season, March through August, please follow these tips:
- Never touch a shorebird chick, even if it’s wandering outside a staked nesting area.
- Teach kids not to chase birds. Bird parents may abandon nests if they’re disturbed.
- Don’t feed birds. It encourages them to fly at people aggressively and is not good for their health.
- If birds are screeching and flying at you, you’re too close.
- Avoid posted bird nesting areas and use designated walkways to the beach.
- Keep pets away from bird nesting areas.
- Keep the beach clean. Food scraps attract predators such as raccoons and crows to the beach, and litter can entangle birds and other wildlife.
- If you see people disturbing nesting birds, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).