Decreasing habitat from beach erosion and increasing tourism have forced several species of beach-nesting shorebirds to seek out alternative nesting areas. Least Terns, American Oystercatchers, and Black Skimmers are some of the species that have moved from beach sand to gravel rooftops to nest and raise their young.
This creative approach to habitat shortage comes with a new set of challenges: eggs and chicks get washed down gutters in the rain; chicks fall or fly to the ground and are unable to rejoin their parents on the roof; a sometimes less-than-enthusiastic reception from building owners/ managers/ employees.
Enter humans! Blue Turtle Society volunteers partner with Audubon Florida and FWC to check for fallen chicks and place them back on the rooftop using the ingenious Chick-a-Boom (pictured). Volunteers also work some public relations magic to help the public understand how beautiful and tenacious these shorebirds are, and how they deserve space to rest and nest.
If you would like to get involved in Chick-Checking or Bird Stewarding on the beaches, please fill out our Contact form!