Six Tips for Sharing our Coast with Nesting Birds this Summer

By Cara Gates, Coastal Community Science Biologist

Help protect our favorite feathered friends this summer! As you recreate on Oregon’s beautiful beaches and rocky habitats you can also take these steps to minimize impacts to the millions of birds that nest along Oregon’s coast every summer.

Snowy Plover on nest with eggs
Snowy Plover, photo by Matthew Paulson

Here are six ways you can help birds and other wildlife while enjoying the coast:

    1. Obey signage and posted rules: Signs can be easy to ignore but please take a moment to read them and follow their guidance. Signs communicate where to stay out so vulnerable species like Snowy Plovers and Black Oystercatchers can nest in peace.
    2. Leash your dogs: To a bird, dogs are like one of their natural predators – coyotes. Dogs will sometimes kill birds or eat eggs and chicks at nests. More commonly regular disturbance by unleashed dogs can cause stress that can prevent birds from nesting successfully.
    3. Drones and kites: Birds perceive these devices as aerial predators like Peregrine Falcons or Great Horned Owls. Follow signage to where and when these recreational activities are allowed.
    4. Fireworks: The loud noises and bright flashing of fireworks can terrify birds and cause nest abandonment. Please only go to designated areas on the coast to enjoy fireworks. Some communities on the coast like Cannon Beach have banned fireworks altogether.
    5. Pack out your trash: Crows, ravens, and gulls are just as happy to raid bird nests as they are to eat trash left by people. Trash on beaches attracts these predators and results in disturbances to nesting birds.
      Tell your friends: Many people just don’t know that the activities described above harm birds and other wildlife. Take a moment to educate your friends and family what you’ve learned.

Enjoy the summer and don’t forget to think about the birds!