Summer is officially here, and with the nice weather comes an opportunity to take action to protect wildlife while you enjoy the great outdoors. We humans have built the world around ourselves, leaving little space for wildlife. Human activity continues to put the natural world at risk, and the need for greater wildlife habitat protection has never been more urgent.
At International Bird Rescue, our mission is to rescue waterbirds in crisis. This summer, we hope you’ll keep in mind a few simple guidelines to protect vulnerable wildlife and be on your best beach behavior. And remember – you don’t have to live on the coast to protect waterbirds! A beach can be any sandy or pebbly shore along a body of water. Rivers, lakes, and ponds could all have beaches that provide important foraging and nesting habitat for a wide variety of waterbirds.
Best Beach Behaviors:
Nature needs you. Wildlife populations have declined by more than 60 percent in the last fifty years. Species survival requires a collective commitment. Together, we can take action to be on our best beach behavior this summer and protect the natural home of wildlife and ourselves. Bird Rescue hopes to inspire you to take small actions every day this summer.
- Give wildlife space. Always keep at least six feet distance between yourself and a wild animal.
- Learn to recognize distress. If a wild animal doesn’t run away, that does not mean it’s friendly. It may very well be in distress. Don’t touch it or take a selfie. Instead, call your local wildlife rehabilitator for help.
- Never feed wildlife. Feeding birds can lead to habituation, which may cause them to seek food in unsafe locations such as fishing piers. Also, human food can be quite harmful to wildlife.
- Pay attention to what is around you. Slow down and look around. Pick up litter even if it isn’t yours. Small and vulnerable shorebirds such as Snowy Plovers can be easily overlooked as they blend in with their environment and nest in small depressions in the sand.
- Be mindful of pets. The presence of predators such as dogs can prevent or disrupt the nesting of shorebirds on the beaches. There are dog-friendly beaches in most communities which are clearly labeled for this purpose. Dogs chasing after birds on the beach can disrupt the natural behaviors of these wild species.