WESTPORT, Conn. -- The Westport Daily Voice accepts signed letters to the editor. Send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To the editor:
As residents and perhaps parents we should remember that shorebirds are protective of their offspring, too!
They must constantly be watchful of predators and are subject to stress from even the most well-intentioned observers and their canine companions. Walking through nesting areas adds stress to the already challenging job of protecting and feeding their young.
This is particularly true on Cockenoe Island, where there are dozens of nesting shorebirds whose eggs are so well camouflaged it is easy not to recognize them.
The National Audubon Society has compiled the following guide on how we can best share the beach with migrating and nesting birds on Connecticut’s diverse shoreline.
When people help shorebirds by sharing the beach, they are rewarded with the spectacle of wild birds including the opportunity to observe the excitement that unfolds with every nesting season. These are some simple steps you can take to help coastal birds:
- Respect protected areas and signs. Birds, eggs, nests and chicks are well-camouflaged and disturbance by people and their pets can cause birds to abandon their eggs and young.
- Avoid disturbing groups of birds that are nesting or feeding. If birds take flight, call loudly or act agitated it means you are too close.
- Always aim to keep your dog on a leash and away from the birds and respect local regulations as to where dogs are not allowed. Shorebirds perceive people and pets as predators.
- Please don’t leave trash or fishing line on the beach. Take your trash with you and place in an appropriate trash container. Trash attracts real predators such as gulls, crows, raccoons and foxes. Fishing line entangles and kills birds.
“Shorebirds are an indicator of the health of our coast,” says Walker Golder, Audubon’s North Carolina deputy state director. “They are threatened largely because of threats to their food supply, loss of habitat, and human-caused disturbance to the habitat that these birds—and many more—require. It is important to share the shore with shorebirds and respect their needs. Their lives depend on it.”
Director of the Westport Conservation Department