Birds in Delaware

Sharing Our Shores with Birds

Summer Beach Tips

Image: Piping PloverSummer is in full swing and with the approach of Independence Day, many people celebrate the holiday at the coast. Birds are already there--terns, skimmers, oystercatchers, plovers--nesting on the beach and trying to raise their chicks. It's a critical time for coastal birds and there's no better time to help protect our Atlantic coast and the birds that depend it every year. Audubon has compiled the following guide on how to share the beach with nesting birds.

Atlantic Coast Birds Need Beaches

Birds nest on beaches throughout the Atlantic coast, often on the same beaches that are popular with visitors for the Independence Day holiday. The greatest threats to beach-nesting birds are human disturbance and habitat loss.

The most endangered shorebirds along the Atlantic Coast in the continental U.S. today include the Piping Plover (federally threatened). Least Terns, Common Terns, Black Skimmers and American Oystercatchers are listed in many Atlantic Coast states as threatened or special concern species.

Chicks on the Beach:

Breeding season for most beach-nesting birds is April through the end of August. Here are nesting shorebirds to keep an eye out for on the beach.

Simple Ways You Can Help

When people help shorebirds by sharing the beach, they are rewarded with the spectacle of wild birds including the opportunity to observe the excitement that unfolds with every nesting season. These are some simple steps you can take to help coastal birds.

  • Enjoy the sanctioned and approved firework celebrations. Impromptu fireworks in the vicinity of nesting areas can be devastating for birds.
  • Respect protected areas and signs. Birds, eggs, nests and chicks are well-camouflaged and disturbance by people and their pets can cause birds to abandon their eggs and chicks, leaving them vulnerable to predators and extreme temperatures.
  • Avoid disturbing groups of birds that are nesting or feeding. You are too close if birds take flight, call loudly, or act agitated.
  • Keep your dog on a leash and away from the birds. Coastal birds perceive people and pets as predators and leave their nest or chicks.
  • Please don't leave trash or fishing line on the beach. Take your trash with you and place in an appropriate trash container. Trash attracts real predators such as gulls, crows, raccoons and foxes. Fishing line entangles and kills birds.
  • Please do not fly kites near nesting and feeding areas. This will cause birds to leave their nests or chicks, leaving them vulnerable to predators and extreme temperatures, which can kill them.