NAPLES — Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve plan to post signs and close some beach areas at Keewaydin Island, Big Marco Pass and Caxambas Pass critical wildlife areas this week to help protect nesting shorebirds.
Nesting areas will be roped off with twine and flagged Wednesday at Big Marco Pass and Thursday at Caxambas Pass; about five acres on the southern tip of Keewaydin Island will be posted with signs Thursday and remain closed until the end of least tern nesting season in mid-August.
Conservation Commission biologists manage these areas to maximize nesting success for least terns, black skimmers, snowy plovers and Wilson's plovers.
These closed areas protect the nesting birds from unnecessary disturbances and protect their nests from being accidentally stepped on.
All of these species nest in the open and lay their well-camouflaged eggs directly on the sand, making them nearly invisible to predators and to the untrained human eye.
The closed areas on the beaches may change or shift throughout the nesting season, depending on where the birds have chosen to nest at any given time.
If you would like more information about Florida’s shorebirds, go to the "Living with Wildlife" area under MyFWC.com/wildlife/, and download the "Co-existing with Florida's beach-nesting birds" brochure.