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Sea and shorebirds

seagulls and pelicans on beach

The county’s beach shoreline and coastal environment provide important habitats for a variety of bird species. Some of these birds, such as brown pelicans and laughing gulls, are year-round residents. Other birds -  such as northern gannets, piping plovers and white pelicans - are migratory visitors that depend on these habitats to rest during the winter season. Some birds, like Wilson's plovers and black skimmers, use the beaches to nest in the spring and early summer. Many of the birds, such as piping plovers, are listed as endangered or threatened species and are protected by state or federal laws.

Volusia County staff is a proud affiliate of the Volusia Shorebird Partnership. The Volusia Shorebird Partnership is a countywide alliance of interested groups, organizations, and individuals committed to advancing shorebird and seabird stewardship in Volusia County. The partnership accomplished this through coordinated and collaborative work that helps to identify and address important needs with regard to research, management, education, outreach and public policy. Read more about this and other partnerships at the Florida Shorebird Alliance website.

How you can help shorebirds: Help spread the word, “bird”!

  • Report injured birds or nesting sites by calling the Beach Safety Division at 386-239-6414. County staff can rescue injured birds or post warning signs around bird nesting sites on the beach.
  • Keep your distance from resting, feeding, and nesting birds. Vehicles, bicycles and beach combers can disturb resting birds that need all their vital energy for long migrations or to search for food.
  • Keep dogs in designated areas and on their leashes. Dogs can destroy nest areas and deter birds from nesting on our beaches.
  • Dispose of trash properly. Use designated trash receptacles and fishing line recycling bins for monofilament to avoid entanglement of birds.
  • Don’t feed wild birds. Human food is not as nutritious as a natural diet. Also, birds can become aggressive and injure humans while being fed.
  • Keep cats indoors. If a cat must go outside, put a bell around its neck to alert at-risk wildlife, including baby birds, to flee from nearby danger.
  • Watch your step! Shorebird nesting sites are on the ground near the base of dunes (not up in trees) where the sand stays dry above the high tide line. Bird eggs are small and well camouflaged in the sand. If you see an adult bird vocalizing loudly or faking a broken wind, you may be too close to their nest. Back away slowly and carefully! Constant disturbance of parent birds protecting their young can cause them to abandon their nest or chicks.
  • If you notice other people conducting activities that may be harmful to birds, kindly remind them of the dangers of their actions. Most people don’t realize they may be harming wildlife and will change their behaviors once they are educated.
  • If you find a baby bird, see this flyer to properly help it

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