North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

"Share the Shore" with North Carolina’s Wildlife

By: Naomi Avissar

Author: NCWRC blogger/Wednesday, May 31, 2017/Categories: Blog, Conservation, Education

"Share the Shore" with North Carolina’s Wildlife

Now that summer has kicked off with a busy Memorial Day weekend, and many of us have begun flocking to North Carolina’s gorgeous beaches, please remember to share the shore with our state’s wildlife. Several threatened species of shorebirds and sea turtles nest on our beaches, so following these few “beach etiquette” tips can help keep them safe while you enjoy the surf and sand:

1.      Respect closures. Please stay away from areas that have been posted (closed off with signs). Posting is an effective tool to protect shorebird and sea turtle nests from disturbance, but only if people comply with the closures.

2.      Drive low and slow. During the shorebird and sea turtle nesting season (March – October), it’s best to avoid beach driving altogether. But if you must drive on the beach, drive low (on the lower beach) and slowly enough to avoid running over chicks or hatchlings. Also, never drive over the wrack line (seaweed and debris at the tide line) because chicks and hatchlings may be hidden in there…

3.      Pack trash out. Discard fishing line or kite string in an appropriate receptacle, or take it with you when you leave. When left on the beach, these materials can entangle and kill birds and turtles. Similarly, remove your trash (including bait and scraps from cleaned fish) from the beach, so it doesn’t attract nest predators such as raccoons, feral cats, foxes, and gulls. Which brings us to the next point…

4.      Don’t feed the gulls! Gulls are a major predator of shorebird chicks and eggs, as well as sea turtle hatchlings, so don’t feed them. Feeding gulls increases their concentrations on the beach, which is dangerous for beach-nesting wildlife and a nuisance to beach-goers.

5.      Keep Fido on a leash. Dogs may chase and harass birds, which can be fatal to their nests. If a dog chases a bird off its nest, it exposes the eggs to the hot sun, as well as any predators (such as gulls) that may be nearby. Dogs can also trample shorebird nests, dig up sea turtle nests, or kill chicks and turtle hatchlings, so please keep them on leash.

6.      Report sick, injured, and dead turtles. Please report these turtles by calling (252) 241-7367 or your local law enforcement agency. Sick and injured turtles will be transported to a rehabilitation facility, and important data will be collected on the dead turtles.

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