Audubon Louisiana's beach-nesting bird program continues to monitor the breeding success of coastal conservation priority species, including Wilson's Plovers, Least Terns, and Common Nighthawks. Here's the latest:
- At this stage in the season, Louisiana's beaches are full of baby birds, but many are hard to see because of their camouflage and ability to blend in with the sand and vegetation. Wilson's Plovers are only tending to chicks and no longer have nests, but Least Terns and Common Nighthawks that failed earlier in the season continue to renest, while others are busily attending to chicks.
- We anticipate that this nesting season will continue well into August, and as such, we continue to need volunteer nesting stewards to ensure the remainder of the nesting season is productive - especially at Rutherford Beach where our largest Lest Tern colony continues to nest. Interested in volunteering? Contact Nic Dixon at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Our team of field biologists, with the help of dozens of volunteers (THANK YOU!), have worked with local land managers this season to set up symbolic fencing to alert beach-goers and prevent them from entering sensitive nesting areas at places like Holly Beach, Rutherford Beach, and Elmer's Island.
- Our biologists have tracked over 400 nests of our focal species, and are seeing a large increase in hatching success at most sites, compared to last year. This is largely due to a less dramatic summer storm season, in addition to protection from beach-goers. Working with ULL graduate student, Sarah Bolinger in Dr. Scott Duke-Sylvester's lab, we will use this data to understand the relative contribution of nest elevation above sea level to nesting success, and whether predators offset any gains.
- We are excited to launch a project with Tulane University graduate student, Kiah Williams in Dr. Caz Taylor's lab, who is attaching nanotags to Wilson's Plovers in order to learn about their annual movements and survival. The first Wilson's Plover was tagged on June 21st with the goal to deploy 20 nanotags this trial season.