Beachgoers asked to “Fish, Swim, and Play from 50 Yards Away” of bird nesting areas on July 4th
The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is reminding reminds beachgoers that Charles Island in Milford and Duck Island in Westbrook are closed to the public through Sept. 9, according to a release
The agency also "is asking the
public to help protect birds that nest in coastal areas, especially
during the very busy summer beach season," release said. "People visiting the beaches
are often unaware of the shorebirds that nest in the sands near where
they are swimming, fishing, and recreating. As a result, nests can
accidentally get trampled, destroyed, or abandoned. Beachgoers can help
by staying at least 50 yards away from areas where large concentrations
of birds are gathered, and to always respect areas that are roped off or
marked with signs designating an area that is used by nesting birds."
they are on nests or in feeding areas, nesting shorebirds and wading
birds (particularly piping plovers, least terns, American
oystercatchers, herons, and egrets) are especially vulnerable to
disturbance from kites, fireworks, and unattended cats and dogs," the release said.
disturbed, these birds may abandon nesting areas, leaving eggs and
hatchlings to die from exposure or predation. In addition, beachcombers,
sunbathers, and boaters can inadvertently trample piping plover and
least tern eggs and young if they are not vigilant," the release said.
"To avoid this, the
DEEP has erected fencing and yellow warning signs along beaches where
these birds build their shallow nests in the sand. Similarly, the DEEP
has cordoned off various off-shore islands where herons and egrets
congregate in nesting areas called rookeries."
and wading birds need special protection throughout their April to
September nesting season,” DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen said, also in the release. “We urge beachgoers to keep fireworks and kites, especially kites
that make noise, away from beach areas. We are also asking people to
keep their pets leashed and to stay away from fenced areas.”
visitors need to be aware that while cordoned off areas delineate
critical nesting sites, once plover and tern chicks hatch, they can be
anywhere on the beach, not just in the fenced areas. Therefore, it is
extremely important to be aware of your surroundings when visiting a
beach where plovers and terns are known to nest," the release said.
\More in the DEEP statement:
DEEP offers the following advice to protect nesting shorebirds and wading birds:
Do not build camp fires on beaches where plovers and terns nest, even below the mean high tide line.
local ordinances before bringing dogs or other pets to beaches – some
beaches prohibit dogs during the summer season. Refrain from allowing
cats to roam freely on beaches during the nesting season. Dogs and cats
are frequent predators of piping plovers and least terns.
Do not let pets off boats onto posted islands or posted beaches.
If you live near a beach, do not let your pets roam during the nesting season. Dogs should always be leashed.
not bury or leave trash, picnic leftovers, and fish scraps on a beach.
They attract predators of chicks and eggs, such as skunks, raccoons,
foxes, and black-backed gulls.
Do not attempt to “rescue” young birds that appear to be lost or too young to fly.
Do not attempt to remove young birds from the beach or coastal areas to care for them at home.
is illegal to hold wildlife for rehabilitation without state or federal
permits. In addition, shorebirds have a unique diet that people would
find hard to duplicate, probably resulting in starvation of the young
Report any violations affecting wildlife to the DEEP’s
24-hour, toll-free hot line: 1-800-842-HELP (for those with CT area
codes of 860 and 203) or 860-424-3333
(for those with area codes other than CT).
In contributed photo: Piping plover chick
Labels: beaches, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, DEEP. shorebirds, nesting