First Enclosure Goes Up for Snowy Plover Nesting Season

provided to Santiva Chronicle

SCCF staff ropes off an area of beach near the Sanibel Lighthouse for nesting snowy plovers. Photo provided

Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation staff roped off an area of beach near the Sanibel Lighthouse on Tuesday, March 24, for nesting snowy plovers in cooperation with the City of Sanibel.

Snowy plovers are a threatened species in Florida. Last year, two pairs of plovers nested and raised their young in the same location. Four chicks total fledged on Sanibel in 2019, which was an increase from the previous two years.

Currently, there are four pairs of snowy plovers pairing up and establishing territories in this area. Protecting their nesting areas is essential to their survival, as these small, sand-colored birds lay their nests in shallow depressions in the sand. They need a safe space to protect their nests from accidental destruction.

You can help protect our snowy plovers by giving them their space. Always stay outside posted areas, and keep all pets on a leash. If a plover is scared off her nest, the eggs and chicks are left exposed to the hot Florida sun, and to predators like crows and gulls.

Never feed wildlife, as this can attract predators to nesting areas. Always pick up your trash, and remember to fill in any holes you dig on the beach. Small flightless shorebird chicks can become entrapped and die.

Contact shorebirds@sccf.org with any questions about our snowy plovers. Anyone who sees a violation can call the FWC wildlife alert hotline number at 888-404-FWCC.

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