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In December 2017, Port Orange bird rookery became the state’s 32nd Critical Wildlife Area (CWA) established by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). This important protection was advanced by Halifax River Audubon and Audubon Florida to buffer nesting American Oystercatchers, Brown Pelicans and several species of herons and egrets from disturbance by boaters.
The Richard T. Paul Alafia Bank Bird Sanctuary is the crown jewel of wading bird rookeries on the Gulf Coast, with 16 species nesting there, including our most iconic Florida species - Brown Pelicans and Great Egrets - and some of our rarest birds - Reddish Egrets, Roseate Spoonbills, and American Oystercatchers. More than 8,000 waterbirds depend on this special place as a nursery to safely raise young.
The equivalent of Piping Plover royalty were spotted wintering in Florida this year! In 2017, for the first time in 60 years, two pairs of Piping Plovers nested in Pennsylvania on the shores of Lake Erie.
Just like Floridians, Florida’s coastal birds demonstrated perseverance and persistence last year. Audubon support and stewardship gave the birds a fighting chance despite extreme weather, disappearing habitat, and crowded beaches.
In February, the Maitland-based Audubon Center for Birds of Prey hosted its annual Wind Beneath our Wings event benefitting Audubon’s efforts to research, rescue, rehabilitate, and release birds of prey. The event previewed the new “Restore the Nest” campaign - an effort to raise $165,000 for repairs and weaknesses discovered after Hurricane Irma.
Enthusiasm for using native plants in Florida landscapes is spreading among Audubon’s 45 local chapters in Florida! Twenty of Florida’s Audubon chapters serve as local native plant resources and are encouraging their communities and neighbors to use native landscaping.
Shorebird populations have declined over the past few decades from many pressures along coasts. Habitats are lost to development, shrunk from sea level rise, and impacted by human disturbance.