Bird nesting season officially began at Rookery Bay Research Reserve this past week with the closing of Second-Chance Sandbar located just about a mile off the coast of Cape Romano in the Reserve.
Rookery Bay works together with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Audubon Florida to protect this nesting habitat for least terns, black skimmers and Wilson’s plovers, which is designated a Critical Wildlife Area.
Second-Chance’s small swath of land plays an important role in successful breeding for birds because the remote location offers peace and privacy for birds to mate and raise their vulnerable chicks. Also, beach nesting birds encounter far fewer predators on small sandbars such as Second-Chance. When staff placed signage this week, a few Wilson’s plovers had already paired off and were engaging in nesting activity.
People, pets and vessels are prohibited from entering Second-Chance during the closure period, per state rule 68A-19.005 F.A.C. Nesting areas will be monitored throughout the nesting season. Once the signs are removed on Aug. 31, or after the birds have left, boating visitors may return.
Hopefully, a fruitful season is in store for our vulnerable beach nesting birds!
Rookery Bay Research Reserve
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve stretches across 110,000 acres of pristine mangrove forest, uplands and protected waters. We are committed to preservation through research, education, and land protection.