Coastal Bird Stewardship

How you can help make beaches safer for birds.

Coastal birds live on the edge of the land and the sea, and lately their lives are on the edge as well. More and more they must share their habitat with humans, and as a consequence they face a multitude of threats related to human activities.

National Audubon has released its Coastal Bird Stewardship Toolkit, a handbook for beach stewardship project organizers, site leaders, and volunteer beach stewards who are dedicated to reducing those threats through education and onsite advocacy. This toolkit includes all the basic information beach steward program organizers and stewards need to help protect nesting, wintering, and migrating coastal birds from human disturbance in their community. It explains how to employ the most effective tools of beach stewardship: symbolic fencing, attention-grabbing messages, and effective on-the-beach communication with the public to educate them about activities people engage in that disturb—and therefore harm—birds that share the shore as well as positive alternatives that protect birds. 

The toolkit reflects the best practices, principles, and tools most applicable to stewardship of coastal birds, creating sustainable stewardship programs, and training and deploying volunteers. The content is informed by the work of thousands of Audubon chapter staff and volunteers, Audubon wardens, and community groups who channel their passion for birds and nature into protecting and restoring the most important, vibrant, and vulnerable coastal habitats.

What's in the toolkit
  • Part 1 is an overview of the life histories of coastal birds and outlines the types of threats they face from the activities people engage in at the beach.
  • Part 2 includes the basic principles of managing disturbance through stewardship.
  • Part 3 includes the basic practices and tools for launching and sustaining a successful beach stewardship program.
  • Part 4 is all about being a volunteer steward, an on-the-scene advocate whose primary job is to encourage beachgoers to have positive attitudes about birds on the beach and to help them recognize what activities are harmful to birds and why.
  • Part 5 offers practical tools and information to support a successful coastal stewardship project.

Download the Coastal Bird Stewardship Toolkit