Here’s a little-known fact. When people or dogs disturb birds on the beach, it can literally threaten their lives. In fact, disturbance is one reason that species like the Least Terns, Wilson's Plovers, and Black Skimmers are in trouble.
When we scare birds off nests, eggs and chicks literally bake in the sun. When we startle migratory birds, these long-distance travelers burn up energy they need to survive their annual journeys. Some birds, including pelicans, can panic – leading them to abandon or accidentally destroy their nests.
Volunteers in Action
Our solution is Shorebird Stewards, a program that engages a growing group of volunteers to protect coastal birds. In 2016, seven volunteers patrolled high-traffic beaches to educate visitors about how to share the shore with birds. We began with Folly Beach, Hunting Island, and Dewees Island – places where birds were on a collision course with weekend crowds.
Now we’re expanding Shorebird Stewards to Harbor Island, Kiawah Island, and Seabrook Island. Please volunteer! Just get trained, then coordinate your Stewardship time with others. You’ll find that it’s a blast to get outdoors and meet other nature lovers.
Outreach to Boaters
This year Shorebird Stewards is also adding outreach to sailing clubs and marinas, involving people who visit islands that you can reach only by boat. If you’ve got ideas about how we can turn boaters into bird-protectors, please let us know.
Everyone, please share your contact information so we can be in touch. Together, we can protect South Carolina’s vulnerable seabirds and shorebirds!
PROJECT CONTACT: Nolan Schillerstrom