"People visiting the beaches are often unaware of the many species of birds that nest in the sands near where they are swimming, fishing, and recreating. As a result, nests can accidentally get trampled, destroyed or abandoned," Kacy Ray, the conservancy's Gulf beach-nesting bird conservation project officer, said Thursday in a release.
The best thing beachgoers can do is keep their distance from areas where larger congregations of birds are gathered and respect areas roped off or with signs indicating they are designated as areas used by nesting birds, Ray said.
"The habitat for these birds is diminishing every year due to beach development, erosion, and ever-increasing recreational use, so the birds can really use any break we can give them," Ray said. "They have no other place to go."
Ray said people know they've entered a nesting area when large groups or individual birds squawk loudly, dive-bomb heads or feign injury to lead humans away from nests. When this happens, back away and share the beach, he said.