Stay in the know about wildlife, water quality, and ecosystems on Sanibel and Captiva Islands and in Southwest Florida

Video Highlights Threats to Shorebirds

April 28, 2020

SCCF invites you to view our NEW animated shorebird conservation video produced by The City of Sanibel, in partnership with SCCF, “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society, and Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Society.

This short, educational video highlights the threats shorebirds face every day and showcases simple ways residents and visitors can be good neighbors to shorebirds and other coastal wildlife.

Our shorebird nesting season begins in February and goes through August. Among the shorebirds facing conservation challenges are threatened species such as snowy plovers, least terns, and Wilson’s plovers.


Many coastal shorebird species are facing significant threats from habitat loss to interference in nesting activities. Shorebird couples create small scrapes or depressions in the sand and lay approximately 3 eggs, which blend in with the sand and are very difficult for beachgoers to see.

Disturbances such as close-range loud noises, unleashed pets, and human activity too close to nesting areas can cause adult shorebirds to flush away from their nests, leaving separated chicks vulnerable to predators and the natural elements, and potentially stepped on by beachgoers.

Please follow these guidelines to protect our feathery friends:

  • Give wildlife space. Stay out of posted nesting areas and keep your distance from nesting shorebirds and other wildlife areas. Fly kites away from posted areas.
  • Keep your dog on a leash and away from posted nesting areas. Unleashed dogs may cause harm to vulnerable shorebird chicks. All dogs on the beach must be on a leash no longer than 8-feet in length.
  • Never chase wildlife. Forcing birds to fly wastes precious energy reserves needed for nesting and migration. Flushing birds may also lead to nest abandonment and leave eggs and nestlings vulnerable to predators and the hot Florida sun.
  • Do not feed wildlife. Food scraps attract predators such as crows and gulls to the area, which prey on shorebirds and their hatchlings.
  • Secure trash that may injure or entrap wildlife.
  • Remove all beach furniture and equipment from the beach BY 9pm to avoid nesting obstacles or wildlife entrapments.
  • Fill holes/level sandcastles after your beach day. Flightless chicks and sea turtle hatchlings and may fall into holes and become trapped.
  • Leave the wrack line undisturbed to provide shorebirds food and critical habitat.
  • Keep off the dune vegetation. Beach vegetation protects wildlife and our homes from coastal erosion.
  • Leave personal fireworks at home and attend an official display instead. The loud sounds and bright lights of close-range fireworks on Florida’s beaches can have catastrophic effects on nesting birds and sea turtles.

Teach visitors, neighbors, and children these conservation tips!

Please email with any shorebird nesting sightings or disturbances. On Sanibel, violations of wildlife ordinances may be subject to City, State, and/or Federal fines and penalties and should be reported immediately to the Sanibel Police Department at (239) 472-3111.


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