Following Sanibel’s Snowy Plovers
It was a good year for state-threatened snowy plovers on Sanibel, with seven chicks successfully fledging on the island this season.
As the shorebird nesting season comes to an end, we can only wonder where these seven snowy plover fledglings will fly. Here’s a quick look at what some of our past fledglings have been up to.
Light Blue/Light Blue (LL, also called ‘LL Cool J’ or ‘LL Bean’)
LL was born last year on Sanibel to snowy plover super-dad White/Blue, who has successfully fledged at least one chick per year since he was banded in 2019. After fledging, LL made his way up to Fort De Soto Park in Pinellas County. Despite initial struggles finding a mate, the SCCF shorebird team was pleased to hear he was finally seen traveling with a female.
“While it doesn’t look like he tried to nest this year, that’s not uncommon for first-year birds,” said SCCF Shorebird Biologist Audrey Albrecht.
Light Blue/Green (LG)
LG is a 2021 fledge from the east end of Sanibel who has taken up residence fairly close to home at Carlos Pointe on the south end of Fort Myers Beach. Although she’s had a few unsuccessful nesting attempts this season, LG continues to persevere and is currently incubating another clutch of eggs.
Green/White (‘Miss Sanibel’)
Miss Sanibel was the sole snowy plover fledgling on Sanibel in 2017. She left the island shortly after fledging in early July and wasn’t seen again until August 2017, when Florida State Parks staff found her on Caladesi Island State Park. She has nested on Siesta Key and Caladesi every year since before returning to Lee County this year for the first time in 6 years. She nested on Fort Myers Beach before she was spotted on Lido Key in mid-July.
Green/Orange, Green/Yellow, and Green/Black
These three 2023 fledges have made their way Carlos Pointe on Fort Myers Beach. Green/Black has also been seen at Bunche Beach and even back on Sanibel. We hope his or her siblings come to visit us as well!
About SCCF’s Banding Program
Snowy plovers banded on Sanibel have a metal band and a green band on one leg, and a unique two-color combination on the other.
“You never know when you may come across a banded shorebird,” Albrecht said. “If you have your binoculars with you, try to get a view of both legs, top to bottom. Better yet, take photos of the bird from multiple angles to ensure that all bands have been captured.”
Always observe and take photos from a respectful distance that does not disturb the bird or otherwise change its behavior. Learn more about shorebird-friendly photography.
Bird banding on Sanibel is performed by trained biologists operating under state and federal permits. Re-sighting these birds yields important information about migration and dispersal patterns, and ultimately contributes to the conservation of the species. If you have seen a banded bird, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.