Snowy Plover Project
SCCF is working to preserve an important nesting population of Southeastern Snowy Plovers (Charadrius alexandrinus tenuirostris) on the island of Sanibel. Numerous volunteers from the community are assisting with the project. In 2011, we also begin tracking Wilson's Plovers nests on Sanibel, and SCCF Biologist Joel Cauoette is also working with the Lee County Shorebird Partnership to monitor least tern nesting on gravel rooftops on the islands and in Lee County.
Tropical Storm Debby, 6/23/12
The Snowy Plover is a state listed species and generally thought to be
on the decline due to habitat loss and disturbance. The most recent
estimates indicate that around 200 pairs remain along the west coast of
Florida from the Panhandle through Cape Sable.
The islands’ shorebirds were impacted by the storm, but not as severely as sea turtles. Two Snowy Plover nests and two chicks were lost. Luckily, six chicks survived the storm and are doing well. The brood of Wilson’s Plover chicks, already a few weeks old, survived the storm and will be flying any day now. Captiva’s Least Tern colony also appears to have weathered the storm with few impacts.
Our partnership has brought together resources from various groups to accomplish our general objective to ensure the continued existence of Snowy Plovers on Sanibel Island. SCCF has provided staff time and
expertise, and coordination of volunteer efforts, as well as office
space, a computer and materials for a biology technician,. Volunteers from
the community have given hundreds of hours of their time to the effort.
The J. N. “Ding” Darling NWR has provided housing and support through a grant from the Challenge Cost-share Program for a biology technician. Sanibel Captiva Audubon Society has donated funds for the printing of informative brochures to educate beachgoers on the plight of these birds.
- Protect snowy plover nests from destruction caused by beach traffic
- Educate the public on the plight of nesting shorebirds and how they can help
- Monitor the nesting and fledging process to determine rates of success
- Research into the contributing factors for nesting success
- Develop better management strategies through our gained understanding to be shared with other areas interested in protecting nesting snowy plovers
- Continue to work closely with our partners to create a sense of shared community responsibility and stewardship with respect to the snowy plovers.
Snowy Plovers' and endangered Least Terns’ nests on Sanibel have been protected with stakes and ropes for the past several years by habitat management staff. It is our goal to continue conducting intensive searches and monitoring of Sanibel’s nesting shorebirds to collect data that will give us a better understanding of the status of the breeding populations in order to promote better management of nesting areas in the future.
Support SCCF's Snowy Plover research by Adopting a Snowy Plover.
Financial support for the Snowy Plover program is provided by the U.S. Fish &
Wildlife Service through the J.N. "Ding" Darling NWR and from the Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Society.