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Public warned to keep away from nesting shoreline birds

HARTFORD — Connecticut environmental officials want the public to avoid contact with large concentrations of nesting birds in coastal areas. The Department of E...
pipingploverchicksbyKaitiTitheringtonFWS

HARTFORD — Connecticut environmental officials want the public to avoid contact with large concentrations of nesting birds in coastal areas.
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says people should stay at least 50 yards away from the birds and avoid areas roped off or marked with signs designating nesting locations.

The agency’s Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen says shorebirds and wading birds, such as piping plovers and egrets, need special protection throughout their nesting season, which runs from April to September.  She says beachgoers are urged to keep fireworks and kites away from beach areas. Also, she says pets should be leashed at all times and kept from fenced areas.

DEEP says people visiting beaches are often unaware of the shorebirds that nest in the sands in the areas the visit for recreation. The department is concerned that nests will get destroyed or abandoned, and eggs or tiny fledglings will get trampled and killed during the summer beach season. DEEP says they have erected fencing and yellow warning signs along known nesting areas, and cordoned off various off-shore islands where herons and egrets congregate in nesting areas called rookeries. These include Charles Island in Milford and Duck Island in Westbrook.

HOW TO PROTECT NESTING SHOREBIRDS AND WADING BIRDS (source: DEEP)

  • Respect cordoned off areas – they are sensitive areas important to the birds.
  • Do not build campfires or bonfires on beaches where plovers and terns nest.
  • Refrain from allowing dogs or cats to roam freely on beaches during the nesting season. Dogs and cats are frequent predators of piping plovers and least terns.
  • Do not let pets off boats onto posted islands or posted beaches.
  • Do not bury or leave trash, picnic leftovers, and fish scraps on a beach. They attract predators of chicks and eggs, such as skunks, raccoons, foxes, and black-backed gulls.
  • Do not attempt to “rescue” young birds that appear to be lost or too young to fly.
  • Do not attempt to remove young birds from the beach or coastal areas to care for them at home. In most cases, when immature birds are found alone, the adults have been frightened away but remain nearby to return once the intruder leaves.