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Coastal Bird Stewardship

Florida's beaches and shores are vital to many different bird species throughout the year. And they need your help.

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. 

Become a Bird Steward

One way to help Florida's beach-nesting birds is to become a Bird Steward at a beach or rooftop site. At beach-nesting sites, 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.

Rooftop-nesting Birds

Due to increased development and human activity on beaches in Florida, many of our beach-nesting birds are facing a loss of suitable nesting habitat.  In order to survive in human-dominated landscapes, some species of beach birds have taken to nesting on flat tar-and-gravel rooftops.  Rooftops provide a similar open nesting habitat to beaches but are free from human disturbance and mammalian predators like raccoons, dogs, and cats.  Learn how Audubon Florida is working with rooftop-nesting birds and building owners to monitor and protect these species. 

Beach Docent

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 flconservation@audubon.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.

If you are interested in becoming a Bird Steward or participating in any coastal conservation volunteer activity, please send an email with your name, telephone number, and general location to flconservation@audubon.org.

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How you can help, right now