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Snowy Plover Project

2015 Nesting Stats

SCCF staff and volunteers monitor snowy plover nesting on Sanibel.  Below are stats for this year (nesting is still ongoing) as well as season totals for the past three years:

2015 (as of July 17):

  • 1 nest is active
  • 11 nests have hatched 31 chicks. Six nests have fledged 8 chicks; one nest has 2 chicks. All the chicks are gone from four nests.
  • 2 nests have been depredated
  • 1 nest is gone, fate unknown
  • 1 nest was washed out

    • 2012:  15 nests, 19 chicks, 7 fledged 36.8% fledge rate
    • 2013:  15 nests, 29 chicks, 19 fledged 65.5% fledge rate
    • 2014:  15 nests, 21 chicks, 9 fledged 42.8% fledge rate
    In 2014, 5 nests were lost due the depredation, 1 due to human interference and 1 lost due to depredation or abandonment; plus there was 1 nest with 3 chicks that were lost shortly after they hatched.

    How You Can Help

    • Between March and August, avoid walking in the wrack line (debris washed onto the beach by storms). Snowy Plovers and other shore/seabirds nest, rest and shelter in the wrack lines.
    • ALWAYS keep dogs on a leash. Birds perceive dogs as threats even if the dog is not concerned with shorebirds some birds will abandon their nests if dogs are near.
    • Never chase after flocks of birds. Most of the shorebirds on Florida beaches are migrating through and Florida is the first land they see after flying across the Gulf of Mexico. Causing the birds to fly unnecessarily uses up valuable energy they need for their long journeys.
    • Stay away from beach areas staked off due to shorebird nesting. Staked areas provide a buffer zone to protect birds from unnecessarily leaving the nest and eggs exposed to predators and the elements.
    • Fill any holes you dig holes on the beach before you leave. Young chicks are flightless; if they fall into a hole they become trapped and unable to get out.
    • When visiting the beach adopt a carry in-carry out policy; whatever you bring with you be sure to take home, especially trash. Trash left on the beach may entangle shorebirds causing them to lose limbs or may cause death.

    • 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.

      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.

      coloring book


      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.