Odds are if you go down to the beach, you will see the roped off areas along the bridge and near the sand dunes. Little signs will warn you “Don’t enter! Birds nesting!”
You may see the birds. You may not, but let me assure you they are there and we on Navarre Beach are so excited!
From little least terns to large black skimmers, these guys show up on the beach just about the time the tourist season kicks up.
Terns and black skimmers both nest in colonies, working as a collective to keep an eye out for predators. When a potential threat is spotted, the birds will dive bomb and swarm until the predator, or innocent bystander, is forced to flee.
Each nest contains two or three eggs that blend in perfectly with their surroundings. That means in a few short weeks, dozens of chicks – also well camouflaged — will be running around on the beach. If you spot these fluffy little guys, snap a picture!
It is critical that locals and visitors do what they can to help out these guys thrive. A big part of that is respecting the posted nesting areas. Even if you can’t see the birds, trust me, they are there and very, very well camouflaged. Just avoid the roped off portion when visiting the beach.
Keeping pets like cats and dogs away from the nesting areas will help as well by reducing disruption of the nesting birds and preventing the killing of chicks.
And if the birds start to swarm or seem agitated, give them more space.
Traffic on nearby roads is also a threat. Reducing your speed to 20 miles per hour when crossing the bridge onto and leaving the beach really helps out.
That may seem slow, but when one of those goofy beaked black skimmers darts in front of your car you’ll be glad you were cruising. (Happens to me all the time!)
If we all work together we can ensure all our beach babies get to fly to South America at the end of the nesting season.