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Seasonal Guidelines Instituted To Protect Nesting Shorebirds...At Gulf Islands National Seashore


Though it might seem the only stories about nesting shorebirds in the national parks revolve around Cape Hatteras National Seashore, there are nesting shorebirds at Gulf Islands National Seashore, too, and officials are implementing seasonal guidelines to protect them.

Gulf Islands Superindent Dan Brown says the 2011 shorebird nesting season is under way
in the Florida District of of the seashore. Among the species of nesting birds are least terns, snowy and Wilson's plovers, and black skimmers.

Areas where birds are nesting will be closed to the public and marked accordingly. These closed areas represent a very small percentage of the seashore and officials request that you divert activities to other areas of the park, Superintendent Brown says.

"If you find yourself besieged by birds, it means that you are near an unmarked nesting area or young chicks," a park release said. "Please leave the area by back-tracking your steps - these eggs are very small and may be hard to see."

Since birds and the chicks are often struck by vehicles as they wander onto or fly across roadways at the seashore, posted speed limits are being temporarily reduced to 20 mph in those areas where birds are nesting in close proximity to the roadway.

"By observing posted speed limits and watching carefully for birds flying across or feeding along the roadway, you can help to protect the nesting colonies," the seashore statement said. "By August, nesting will have been completed, and normal use of the road will resume."

Seashore officials also urged bicyclists, walkers, and joggers to temporarily avoid areas along the roadway posted as closed for nesting shorebirds. Any intrusion into the nesting area causes the birds to take flight, leaving their nests vulnerable, the seashore said, adding that the parent birds will often dive at the intruder in an effort to drive them away from the colony.

Alarmed birds may then fly low across the road and into the paths of oncoming vehicles

"We believe we can protect the nesting shorebirds and allow them to reproduce and flourish while minimizing the impacts to the visiting public," said Superintendent Brown.

For additional information on park programs and resources, you can contact the Naval
Live Oaks Visitor Center at 850-934-2600 or visit the seashore's website at


Are we over reacting? If not then they should come and shut down the school today. I find it hard to believe that the beach version would be that different and in fact have witnessed otherwise.

We attended a function at my childs school last night and there was a killdeer (Plover type bird) nested in the center court of the school. They allowed the kids within 3 feet of it and have been doing so for at least four years that the bird has been there. This school just recently finished both a building renovation as well as a major landscaping redo and the bird still returned. Originally the function was intended for a solar system watch, but with this bird drawing so much attention derailed the beginning and turned it into a lesson on nature and respect. Funny if my son was over 1,000 meters away he would never had seen this.

Funny but I suddenly had an idea that this may not be about the birds?

The killdeer (Charadrius vociferus), one of about 40 Charadriinae species, is abundant and capable of exploiting a wide range of agricultural and urban/suburban habitats. The plovers that nest on the beaches at Cape Hatteras are not killdeers, yet you've claimed that they can be treated the same way we treat killdeers simply because they are Charadriinae. This leaves me wondering just how far you might like to carry that line of reasoning. What do you have to say, for example, about the management of champanzees, orangutans, gorillas, and humans, all of which are Hominidae?

Methinks maybe Mr. Stubbs has been infected by the Utah environmental ethic:  "Multiply, multiply and pillage the earth."

"The plovers that nest on the beaches at Cape Hatteras are not killdeers, yet you've claimed that they can be treated the same way we treat killdeers simply because they are Charadriinae. This leaves me wondering just how far you might like to carry that line of reasoning."

When did this happen? Did you read this into my statement? I did not intend this, but will state that several of the species of concern in Hatteras come to the same sand bars we park our boat on and they sit within 15 feet of my kids and dogs? Does this mean if we move these birds away from the beaches they become more tolerant? I simply was amazed that my son along with his classmates were allowed to interact with a species so similar to one that cannot tolerate being near us "Hominidae".

"What do you have to say, for example, about the management of champanzees, orangutans, gorillas, and humans, all of which are Hominidae?"

There are many who believe we should be caged in zoos and small areas so as to not cause damage to the precious creatures around us. Personally I think letting chimp and such on the beaches would not deter from my experience at all and in fact may be better company.

You get the last word on this one, Matt. That reference to chimps on the beach tells me all I need to know about where this thread is headed.

OK, a couple of plovers did their dance and scraped the sand just north of Cape Point (Hatteras). NPS closed it. Fishermen told to leave the point. The plovers probably got to watch them go by as they left. One fisherman said their driving by didn't seem to bother the plovers at all. Doesn't matter. One warm day, a month earlier than last year, one little path to the point per NPS, two plovers, and here we go. I can only imagine that there are some people cheering. They got exactly what they want. They got exactly what many have been saying they would get. Hope they're happy.
Couldn't wait a few hours to see if the plovers would move over just a little. No, that wouldn't make sense. Wonder if those plovers are saying ' if we knew we were going to cause them to have to leave, we would have just slipped over there a bit. No problem. After all the national park people are giving us just about the whole point as it is.'
The NPS may have wasted a lot of time and effort establishing the preseason closures and orv routes. Forget those neat little maps, you know, the "plan your trip maps". They did those fishermen a lot of good Friday.
I know, just get over it. It's ok, you can say that, but don't expect these folks to like it.
Kurt, you might want to check before you make that trip to Hatteras. May not be able to see the best parts with the way this season is starting.

Ron (obxguys) 

Pictures are worth approx One Thousand Words...

Now that will be the last words... Please note the organization at the bottom.

Cape Point is  not closed. Mr. Stubb’s picture is not of the current closure that is temporarily closing ORV access to Cape Point.

The current NPS press release concerning this issue: "Cape Point temporarily closes to ORV access. Deputy Superintendent Darrell Echols announces the temporary ORV access closure of the popular Cape Point area in accordance with the requirements of the
consent decree. On March 18, 2011, just south of Ramp 44 along the ocean shoreline, National Park Service staff observed Piping Plover breeding behavior which resulted
in the closure. The width of the beach is very narrow in the area commonly
known as "the bypass" and the required consent decree buffer of 50-meters
to the north and south resulted in the full beach closure. There currently is not an alternative ORV access route to Cape Point. Because of the steep beach slope, pedestrians would be allowed to walk through the inter-tidal zone to access Cape Point.

For more information on beach access, see:
or call 252-472-2111.

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