Exploring Nature: Beach Birds

Piping Plover, or Charadrius melodus, are shorebirds that live on sandy Texas beaches and lakeshores. They are considered a threatedned species by Texas Parks And Wildlife. Free use photo

If a visit to the beach is in your plans for this summer, by all means remember to keep birds safe while you’re there.

After all, how would you feel if you were the size of a tennis ball, weighed two ounces and couldn’t fly away from danger? That’s the predicament of baby shorebirds newly hatched and confined to their nests on the beach.

Gulls, pelicans, terns, skimmers, plovers and oystercatchers are just a few of the species affected. In addition to baby birds, all birds benefit from proper beach etiquette.

First and foremost, keep your distance from the birds. Some feeding and nesting areas are posted, but even if they’re not, don’t disturb feeding birds. Admire them from a safe distance. After all, that’s what binoculars are for.

Keep your pets on a leash and don’t let your dog chase into shorebird colonies.

Pick up trash and remember that litter can often be toxic to birds. Never bury it at the beach.

Properly dispose of excess fishing line and never leave mono-filament strings to entangle birds.

Get rid of old bait and scraps from cleaned fish so this material will not attract predators of birds.

Finally, eschew setting off firecrackers or riding a noisy ATV on the beach. Instead, be content to admire the waves, soak in the sun and watch the birds soar and sail. That’s really what they do best.

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666