Black Skimmers. Photo: Venu Challa/Audubon Photography Awards
Coastal areas have unique importance for many species of birds, offering breeding sites as well as rich sources of food for migratory stopovers. Oceans also support a large number of seafaring birds that depend on healthy waters for feeding and safe islands for nesting.
Booming coastal development and recreational use of beaches are rapidly eroding vital habitat for birds and other wildlife. Overfishing threatens the food supply for birds—and, in the long term, for people, too. Sea-level rise jeopardizes nesting habitat on beaches and islands at the same time that it puts coastal communities at risk. Beaches are critical nesting and migratory habitat for many species, including Piping Plovers, Snowy Plovers, Least Terns, and American Oystercatchers.
Audubon is committed to protecting the vital habitat along America’s coasts where people and birds intersect.
Shores: Audubon’s beach stewardship program enlists local communities to steer beachgoers away from the most important nesting sites. We also empower members and friends to become a strong voice for responsible coastal management practices. By using sound science, including predictive modeling, we can begin to explore potential habitat impacts from sea-level rise. This is a vital step toward developing strategies to mitigate and offset habitat loss for coastal birds.
Seas: Marine Important Bird Areas hold great promise for stabilizing declining populations of seabirds, including Ashy Storm-Petrels, Kittlitz’s Murrelets, and Roseate Terns. Expanding the IBA program to encompass and study vital ocean sites will provide a foundation for Audubon’s development and promotion of much-needed regulation of overfishing and other threats to ocean birds and wildlife.