AUSTIN (March 14, 2023)—As birds are returning to our beaches and islands to build nests and raise their chicks, Audubon Texas is calling on Texans and Spring Break travelers to help make beaches safer for birds by avoiding their nesting areas. Spring and summer mark critical times of year for these vulnerable species, as they must avoid human disturbance and other threats to successfully raise their chicks.
“A little care goes a long way. Texans and visitors to our state love the beach—and so do birds. With nesting season around the corner, it’s time to help our coastal birds by giving them the space they need to nest and raise their chicks”, says Lisa Gonzalez, Vice President and Executive Director of Audubon Texas, the state office of the National Audubon Society.
Birds like Brown Pelicans, American Oystercatchers and Roseate Spoonbills among many other species can be found on the Texas Gulf Coast this time of year. Around 20 species of waterbirds nest on Audubon-managed islands with some of these colonial waterbirds experiencing population declines due to disturbance and habitat loss. To mitigate this decline and better protect Texas waterbirds, avoid disturbing nesting birds you may encounter along the coast. It is especially crucial to protect species like Black Skimmer, which have been declining rapidly in the state. Whether you love the beach for sunbathing, walking your dog, fishing, kayaking or boating, please remember to take care of coastal birds by sharing the shore.
Here are tips for making Texas Gulf Coast beaches safer for birds:
- Give nesting birds at least 100 feet of distance if the space allows.
- Respect posted signs and fences and stay outside of areas marked as breeding grounds for birds.
- If pets are permitted on beaches, keep them leashed and away from birds.
- Remove trash, including plastics and food scraps. Plastics can be ingested by birds, and food scraps can attract predators that might eat birds’ eggs and/or chicks.
- Do not drive on beach dunes or other nesting areas.
Across Texas, Audubon and partners manage a portfolio of bird nesting islands and protect them from predators and disturbance, like dogs or humans getting too close. Due to compounding threats like sea-level rise and habitat loss, coastal birds are facing a crisis—seabirds around the world have decreased by 70 percent since 1950, and shorebirds in North America alone have seen an even steeper decline since 1973.
For more information on how to visualize the amount of space that coastal birds need to be safe from human interactions, check out our infographic below.
About Audubon Texas
Audubon Texas is the state office of the National Audubon Society. The National Audubon Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation organization that protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon Texas's state programs, three nature centers in San Antonio and Dallas-Fort Worth, a South Texas sanctuary, and a network of 21 local chapters and numerous partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Audubon's vision is a world in which people and wildlife thrive. For more information and to find your local chapter visit https://tx.audubon.org/. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Dallas Kelley, Audubon Texas