Visit Everglades City and the Ten Thousand Islands of Southwest Florida, the Everglades

Share The Shore With Sea Turtles and Shorebirds

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is sharing the reminder that nesting season is underway for our state’s imperiled sea turtles and shorebirds along our coasts. Beachgoers can help ensure nesting success for both sea turtles and beach-nesting birds by giving them space, removing beach furniture and trash before leaving for the day, keeping beaches clean and dark, and never disturbing their nests.

Our beaches are also important habitat for imperiled beach-nesting birds, including black skimmers, least terns, snowy plovers and American oystercatchers.

“Getting too close (50 feet or less) to nesting sea turtles can cause them to leave the beach before they complete the nesting process,” said Dr. Robbin Trindell, lead of the FWC’s Sea Turtle Management Program. “By always giving nesting turtles space, you can help marine turtles have another successful nesting season in Florida this year.”

Bird photo courtesy of FWC
Photos Courtesy of FWC

“People can help with nesting success of waterbirds by keeping at least 300 feet from nesting shorebirds, seabirds and wading birds,” said Florencia Morales, the FWC coordinator for the Florida Shorebird Alliance. “By giving nesting waterbirds plenty of space, you can help avoid causing them to flush from their nesting sites, which would leave vulnerable eggs and chicks exposed to the elements and predators.”

Beachgoers can help with nesting success every time they visit the shore:

  • Clear the way at the end of the day!

    Properly dispose of all trash, fill in human-made holes in the sand, and remove all beach toys and furniture from the beach before sunset. Obstacles on the beach can prevent sea turtles from nesting. Trash and other obstacles can also prevent sea turtle hatchlings from reaching the water once they emerge from their nests, as well as entangle shorebirds, turtles and other wildlife. Food scraps attract predators, such as raccoons and crows, that can prey on sea turtle hatchlings, as well as shorebird eggs and chicks.

  • Do the flock walk!

    Steer clear of flocks of birds on the beach and keep an eye out for shorebird eggs and chicks to avoid stepping on them. Shorebirds and seabirds also nest in shallow scrapes in the sand and their eggs and chicks are well-camouflaged, making them vulnerable to being stepped on.

  • Lights out!

    Turn off lights or close curtains after dark to ensure nesting turtles are not disturbed or disoriented as they come ashore and hatchlings do not become disoriented when they emerge from their nests. Make sure exterior lighting adjacent to nesting beaches is long, low and shielded. Avoid using flashlights or cell phone lights and taking flash photos after dark on the beach.

Turtle photo courtesy of FWC
Photos Courtesy of FWC

Pet owners can also help by keeping dogs at home or on a short leash and far away from wildlife when bringing dogs to pet-friendly beaches.
For more information about nesting waterbirds, go to

2024-06-19T15:39:30-04:00July 11, 2024|Wildlife|

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Go to Top