After suffering huge population losses due to the plume trade around the turn of the 20th century, many species of beach-dependent birds are still on the decline. While historically hunted for their feathers, these birds now face loss of habitat due to coastal development, sea level rise, and other reasons.
In order to reverse the declines and stabilize these bird populations, it is necessary to collect and analyze data through surveys and monitoring, to educate the public through interaction and outreach, and to protect nesting colonies and provide sanctuaries where birds can nest, rest and feed with minimal disturbance.
One way to help Florida's beach-nesting birds is to become a Bird Steward. Stewards who volunteer help ensure beachgoers do not enter fragile nesting areas and help educate visitors about the remarkable species that rely on Florida's shores for survival. Audubon will train you on the bird protections and biology you will need to be successful. Interested individuals should like spending time on the beach and interacting with the public.
Audubon Florida chapters have become nationally known for initiating the bird steward program, now part of National Audubon's Atlantic Flyway Strategic Plan. As a complement to this highly acclaimed program, we have developed the "Beach Docent" program, offering alternatives ways to engage beachgoers with the ultimate goal of protecting our nesting and migrating shorebirds and seabirds. Docents are encouraged to lead fun and educational beach walks that focus on coastal birds and wildlife in light of a changing climate.
Please click here to download Audubon Florida's Beach Docent manual. This project has been made possible by a generous donation from the Jesse Ball duPont Foundation. For more information on how you can get started, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Project Colony Watch
Project ColonyWatch uses volunteer bird-watchers to adopt and protect local waterbird colonies. By recruiting and training volunteers to become the local "wardens", biologists, and advocates for a nesting colony, we can increase the effectiveness of our colony protection efforts across Florida. Download Project Colony Watch Handbook here.