WASHINGTON (May 8, 2020) – As some states begin to reopen beaches, Audubon is calling on beachgoers to help make beaches safer for birds by avoiding their nesting areas. Due to the stay-at-home orders necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Audubon’s staff and volunteers have not yet been able to install the signage and fencing at all nesting sites that informs boaters and beachgoers to give beach-nesting birds their space.
“Shorebirds are beginning to nest right now, and both the nests, eggs, and little hatchlings can blend right in with the color of the sand. Social distancing is not just important for people—it’s important that we keep our distance from nesting birds too,” said Karen Hyun, vice president for coastal conservation at the National Audubon Society.
“Many coastal bird populations are in steep decline. Through education, monitoring and conservation, Audubon’s Coastal Bird Stewardship Program is key to ensuring that coastal birds can nest safely on our beaches. This year, we’re relying on our coastal communities to do their part to share the shore.”
On the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts, Audubon’s Coastal Bird Stewardship Program engages local communities to protect beach-nesting birds from predators and disturbance, like off-leash dogs or fireworks. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Audubon is adhering to all local and state guidelines for beach closures, social distancing, and stay-at-home orders.
Here are four tips for making our beaches safer for birds:
- Give nesting birds at least 150 feet of distance if the space allows. Signs or people usually alert you to these areas, but many posting and fencing efforts are delayed this season.
- If pets are permitted on beaches, keep them leashed and away from birds.
- Remove trash and food scraps, which attract animals that might eat shorebirds’ eggs and/or chicks.
- Do not drive on beach dunes or other nesting areas.
As community leaders, Audubon takes seriously our personal and organizational responsibility to help stop the spread of COVID-19. As a result, we have closed all of our offices and centers, cancelled all events and have restricted many stewardship and monitoring activities to prioritize the safety of our staff, volunteers, and communities.
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @audubonsociety.
Contact: Rachel Guillory, firstname.lastname@example.org, 504.708.5873