St. Pete Beach is a very popular tourist destination, with five miles of wide and heavily-raked sandy beaches and minimal dune structure. This wide, open beach hosts one of the state’s largest Black Skimmer colonies. Black Skimmers require spacious beaches to nest and raise their chicks.
Indian Shores is a narrower, quieter beach in Pinellas County that hosts a small Black Skimmer colony each year. Many sections of this 2.5 mile beach are raked frequently, though many properties have promoted dune and vegetation growth.
Outback Key, now partly within Ft. De Soto County Park’s boundaries, has grown from a small sandbar into a largely vegetated spit of land. Multiple species of native beach plants have taken root, allowing multiple species of shorebirds and seabirds to nest and use as shelter during migration.
Fort De Soto Park is owned and managed by Pinellas County. Its natural beaches and sand dunes attract thousands of people each year, and are very important to nesting and migrating shorebirds and seabirds.
Siesta Key is known for its beautiful white sugar sand beaches. A barrier island off the coast of Sarasota, its beach has been named the #1 beach in the country several times and remains a highly popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Siesta has also historically been a key nesting beach for state-threatened Snowy Plovers. Unfortunately, high levels of disturbance, predation, and habitat degradation have led to declines in Snowy Plover nesting in recent years.
Lido Key is a smaller barrier island directly west of Sarasota's mainland downtown area. Situated in between Siesta and Longboat Keys, Lido is the lesser-known beach of the area and has two public nature parks, one at the south and one at the north end. Lido Beach is the hub for beach-nesting bird activity locally in Sarasota. Each year Lido hosts one of the largest Black Skimmer colonies in the state as well as a thriving Least Tern colony, and, recently, several pairs of Snowy Plovers.