Snowy Plovers experienced a difficult year, with only 15 fledged chicks from 34 pairs at Audubon monitored sites. Predation was a major factor in these low numbers, and staff are looking at methods to reduce predation during the 2021 season. While Least Terns fledged higher numbers than last year (586 from 11 Audubon-managed sites), Black Skimmers put up lower tallies (619 from 7 Audubon-managed sites), in addition to juvenile skimmers affected by a mysterious bacteria at Marco Island causing infections and sick birds. While 6 American Oystercatchers fledged from Hillsborough Bay nesting sites, other counts could not be conducted in the area as a result of COVID-19.
We could not have accomplished our monitoring and protection goals without our dedicated volunteers and staff! In 2020, 80 volunteers participated in beach clean ups and removed fishing line from marine areas, while 204 volunteers worked as bird stewards at sea and shorebird nesting sites.