Photo: Semipalmated and Western Sandpiper
Sharing Our Seas and Shores
Coastal areas have unique importance for many species of birds, offering breeding sites as well as rich sources of food for migratory stopovers. Oceans also support a large number of seafaring birds that depend on healthy waters for feeding and safe islands for nesting. Unfortunately, our seas and shores are under threat.
Booming coastal development and recreational use of beaches are rapidly eroding vital habitat for birds and other wildlife. Overfishing threatens the food supply for birds—and, in the long-term, for people, too. Sea-level rise jeopardizes nesting habitat on beaches and islands at the same time that it puts coastal communities at risk. Beaches are critical nesting and migratory habitat for many species, including Piping Plovers, Common Terns, Least Terns, and American Oystercatchers.
Audubon is committed to protecting the vital habitat along America’s coasts where people and birds intersect.
Seas: Marine Important Bird Areas (IBA) in the U.S. hold great promise for stabilizing declining populations of seabirds, including Ashy Storm-Petrels, Kittlitz’s Murrelets, and Roseate Terns. Expanding the IBA program to encompass and study vital ocean and other offshore sites will provide a foundation for Audubon’s development and promotion of much-needed regulation of overfishing and other threats to ocean birds and wildlife.
Shores: Audubon’s beach stewardship program enlists local communities to steer beachgoers away from the most important nesting sites. We also empower members and friends to become a strong voice for responsible coastal management practices. By using sound science, including predictive modeling, we can begin to explore potential habitat impacts from sea-level rise. This is a vital step toward developing strategies to mitigate and offset habitat loss for coastal birds.
Audubon Connecticut’s Coastal Waterbird Stewardship Program and WildLife Guards Program are educating thousands of beachgoers about the importance of coastal habitat and what they can do to protect shore-nesting birds. Both programs support the efforts of the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, an innovative partnership of Audubon Connecticut, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History, the Connecticut Audubon Society, the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to conserve waterbirds and their habitats. Critical to that effort is Audubon’s Long Island Sound Campaign, a multi-state effort that utilizes science and legislative policy to protect and sustain this important ecosystem.