Black Skimmers are nesting on St. Pete Beach again, and they need your help! The colony of over 600 skimmers make scrapes in the sand to lay eggs and raise their chicks. As more chicks hatch and grow older, they will begin venturing outside of the colony’s posted area looking for shade or to cool off by the water. They will be at an increased risk since they blend in so well with the sand. Skimmer parents are great at defending their eggs and chicks against predators such as gulls and crows, but they need a little extra help from you to make sure they successfully raise their families. Tips for Helping the Black Skimmers:
- Keep your distance and respect posted areas. If the birds become agitated, you are too close! Take a few steps back until the bird has settled down. Signs and rope help people to avoid stepping on nests/chicks.
- Avoid flushing birds. Large flocks of Black Skimmers from the colony sit by the water’s edge to cool off, sometimes with their chicks. Running through flocks cause them to fly away and use up their energy needed to feed and protect chicks. Chicks unable to fly will also be left alone and vulnerable to predators.
- Avoid lighting off fireworks within 1,000 ft of the colony. Firework booms can flush skimmers off their nests and cause abandonment of chicks.
- Keep pets off the beach and away from nesting areas.
- Avoid feeding wildlife, especially the gulls and crows. Attracting these predators to the beach and near the colony puts the nests and chicks at risk.
- Spread the word! Tell others what you’ve learned about these incredible birds!
Audubon Florida is looking for volunteers to steward these colonies of nesting Black Skimmers and help educate the public during the weekends and 4th of July holiday. If you are in-terested in becoming a bird steward or learning more about how you can help, please email anchor steward Monica Craig at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.FLbeachbirds.org.
Information courtesy of Audubon Florida.