Notes from the Field - April 2021

Share the Shore with Beach-nesting Birds
It’s that time of year again! Beach-nesting birds will be arriving to look for suitable nesting habitats on Bald Head Island. Bald Head Island beaches are popular nesting areas for Wilson’s Plovers, Least Terns, and Killdeer. Wilson’s Plover and Least Terns are both North Carolina species of special concern. These shorebird species will start arriving at their nesting grounds in the beginning of April. Once mates have been established, the male will start making nest scrapes (small indentations) in the sand. The female will decide which scrape is the best and she will lay her eggs directly in the sand (usually 2-4 eggs depending on the species). The pair will take turns incubating the nest until it hatches. Breeding birds will defend their nests. Defensive strategies include running away from the nest, making lots of noise, and acting in distress to lure the perceived predator away from the nest.

We encourage all island visitors to #SharetheShore with nesting shorebirds. These birds are particularly sensitive to human and pet disturbance. At the beginning of April, the Bald Head Island Conservancy will be setting up protective postings and signage at Beach Access 1, Beach Accesses 9 and 11, and wherever there is beach-nesting activity. These postings provide a protective barrier to give the birds a large and quiet space to nest and raise their young. We urge people and pets to respect these postings and keep out of those areas when possible. Be a friend to shorebirds and  #ShareTheShore with them!

BHI Conservancy staff will be conducting weekly surveys to search for nests and to monitor breeding activity. If you have any questions or concerns about the postings or to report disturbances of nesting activity, please contact the BHI Conservancy Conservation department at 910-338-0942
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