Prior to the start of a busy Fourth of July weekend, Audubon Louisiana staff and volunteers ventured to Holly Beach to protect nesting birds. These birds, including Wilson’s Plovers, Least Terns and Black Skimmers, are all Audubon priority bird species and are in danger of losing their crucial habitat. Additionally, many of these birds depend on beach habitat for nesting, making their nests vulnerable to vehicular and human traffic. These nests are often camouflaged, making it hard for people to know birds are nesting on the same beaches they’re enjoying for recreation.
Audubon Louisiana staff discovered nesting sites along the beaches where many would gather to celebrate Independence Day. Sadly, a few nests were found to have been run over by vehicles. In order to protect these birds from further beachgoer incidents, Audubon Louisiana reached out to supporters to gather volunteers to install protective fencing and signs around these critical nesting areas.
Upon arriving at the beach, Katie Barnes, Audubon Louisiana Coastal Bird Technician, spotted a young Wilson’s Plover running across the beach. She placed a small band around the bird’s leg in order to track its movement, weighed and recorded the bird, and a volunteer safely released it back onto the beach along with another fledgling collected by Audubon Louisiana Director of Bird Conservation, Erik Johnson.
In all, eight volunteers showed up to help protect these priority birds and their nests. Some people were directed to install fence posts, some strung reflective cord, and some secured “Sensitive Nesting Area” signs to each post. After a few hours, enough fencing was installed to protect all of the cataloged nests along the beach during the Independence Day festivities. Volunteers were able to learn about priority birds, see many of them along the beach and enjoy a beautiful start to the Fourth of July weekend!