Protecting Our Shorebirds

Protecting Our Shorebirds

Protecting Our Shorebirds: A Call for Volunteers

Shorebirds, like the Snowy Plover, nest on the ground, making their eggs and young vulnerable to predators. To survive, these chicks need to be mobile almost immediately after hatching. Snowy Plovers hatch with small bodies and adult-sized legs, providing the necessary mobility to navigate their environment quickly. While they begin walking soon after hatching, they are not considered fledglings until they can fly, which takes about 28 days.

The first few weeks of a Snowy Plover chick’s life are critical. Many young birds fall victim to bad weather or predators during this period. Our dedicated coastal crew closely monitors our Snowy Plovers, ensuring their safety and studying their behaviors. This year, we banded three chicks, and two of them are just days away from flying! By banding these birds, we hope to learn more about where Alabama-hatched Snowy Plovers spend their first winter.

Are you ready to get more involved? Our Coastal Program is looking for passionate volunteers! Volunteers are essential to our success and help us expand our impact on protecting our coastal birds. Here are the areas where we need the most support:

Outreach Volunteers

Outreach volunteers assist our staff in engaging the public at local and regional events, festivals, presentations, and birding trips. Examples include Mobile Bay Earth Day, Alabama Coastal BirdFest, classroom presentations, and Nature at Noon bird walks. This role is all about spreading the word about the work Alabama Audubon does on the coast and how people can help our birds.

Bird Stewards

Bird stewards are the eyes, ears, and voice for coastal Alabama’s beach-nesting birds. During the nesting season (March-September), stewards set up at busy beach access points and near active nesting sites. They engage with the public to educate them about nesting birds and monitor nesting sites for human disturbances, intervening to keep people from entering nesting areas or harassing birds and chicks. Our bird stewards play a crucial role in giving our baby birds a better chance of survival!

If you’re interested in learning more about volunteering on the coast or signing up, please email our Coastal Outreach Manager. Your involvement can make a significant difference in protecting our coastal birds.