First Snowy Plover Nest of 2023
The first snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus) nest of the 2023 breeding season was recently discovered by the SCCF shorebird team, who promptly roped off the area to give space and protection to the state-threatened birds.
This particular nest belongs to a familiar male, known as ‘White/Blue’ (right), who was banded as an adult on Sanibel in 2019 and has fledged chicks on the island every year since.
“White/Blue and his mate had been spotted in the area for several weeks prior to when we spotted the nest, so we’re certain the nest is his,” said SCCF Shorebird Biologist Audrey Albrecht. “After the nesting season, around August or September, White/Blue heads to Pinellas County to winter, so he thankfully wasn’t here during Hurricane Ian.”
Indeed, just four days after the storm, SCCF received a report that White/Blue was alive and well in Pinellas County. He returned to Sanibel a few months later in preparation for the nesting season.
With help from SCCF volunteers, White/Blue’s nest — and any other plover activity on the island — is monitored on a daily basis.
“Sanibel is a crucial nesting area for snowy plovers, so it’s important that we keep a close watch on plover activity to determine when and where a nest could pop up,” Albrecht said, adding that monitoring is especially crucial this season after the destruction of Hurricane Ian. “Observing how these species react after such a catastrophic event can give us a better idea of what will happen in the future if such an event were to occur again.”
Shorebird numbers are declining worldwide due to habitat loss, development projects, climate change and other factors. You can help contribute to the preservation of these threatened species by giving them the space they need to rest, forage, and raise their young during nesting season. Learn more about how to help shorebirds >>
Shorebird nesting season begins in February and continues through August. The SCCF Shorebird team monitors nesting activity of snowy plovers, Wilson’s plovers (Charadrius wilsonia), least terns (Sternula antillarum), and killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) on the island.
If you find a shorebird nest with eggs, don’t touch it — leave enough space for the bird to resume incubating and contact the shorebird team immediately by calling 813-756-8773. If you have any questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.