Coastal Conservation

Winter Monitoring Protects Vulnerable Species and Enhances our Understanding of Conservation Areas

Using wintering bird data, Audubon has successfully worked with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to expand Critical Wildlife Areas for wintering birds and encourage beach communities to reduce the amount of disturbance wintering birds encounter.

Coastal bird conservation is a year-around effort, and includes monitoring bird species during their breeding season, migration, stop-overs, and winter months. Since 40% of Earth’s bird species migrate, each new season brings a distinct community of birds with specific habitat needs.

In the winter of 2013, the Piping Plover pictured above was photographed at the Big Marco Pass Critical Wildlife Area. Banded in 2010 in Michigan, resights of the bird — including this year — showcase the species’ fidelity to this coastline, the importance of our wintering sites to migratory shorebirds, and that this tiny species can be long-lived (10 years and counting!).

We use information from our coastal bird monitoring program while advocating for important habitat outside of the nesting season. Stop-over habitat is vital for migrating shorebirds to refuel on their journey. Once at their wintering locations it is critical for coastal birds to be able to forage sufficiently to have enough energy for the next breeding season.

How you can help, right now