Coastal Conservation

A Community Comes Together for Seabirds Nesting on the Navarre Causeway

by Caroline Stahala

Northwest Florida’s Navarre Beach causeway is a favorite annual nesting spot for a large flock of Black Skimmers and Least Terns. Each summer, bird-admirers stop alongside the road to watch or take pictures of the nesting adults and their fluffy, flightless chicks.  Unlike other sites, this one is in a prominent spot so it’s easy to visit.

The Navarre community is quite protective of their nesting birds.  Each year I am asked when the birds will be returning from their winter homes. So, it wasn’t surprising when we put out the call for help with yearly fencing of the nesting area and 40 volunteers showed up to help.

Roadside nesting of 150 Black Skimmers plus an additional 120 Least Terns is quite a sight!  But it can also be dangerous if they get spooked and lift off to fly low across the road in front of oncoming cars.  We place signs along the shoulder of the road to keep people out of the nesting area and prevent just this sort of disturbance.  It doesn’t seem like a lot of work until you realize that you have well over half a mile of road to post.  We sent requests out throughout Navarre and the beach asking for anyone willing to help the birds to stop by and put a few signs up. 

The response was overwhelming.  People throughout the community came out to help the birds, including a local Boy Scout troop, the Navarre ROTC, members of the Navarre HS football team, veterans and other caring citizens.

The best part of the evening was a pair of Black Skimmers flying over us vocalizing with their barking ‘yip’. The pair landed in an open spot and settled down as all their admirers finished the protective barrier around them.

Thank you Navarre! We’ll do our best to help you protect your birds.  Our next call for help will be just before the chicks start hatching so you can help us keep the chicks from running out into the road. If you are interested in helping out with this site or others in northwest Florida please contact .

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