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Living with Beach-Nesting Shorebirds


At the October Commission Meeting, Commissioners approved an effective date delay from September 2023 to October 1, 2024, for the Imperiled Beach-nesting Bird (IBNB) Species Conservation Measures and Permitting Guidelines.

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Beach-nesting Birds

Tern Bird

Several species of shorebirds and seabirds nest along the beaches of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida. Habitat loss and degradation associated with coastal development has largely restricted many of these species to stretches of beach within parks and preserves. This group of birds is particularly sensitive to human disturbance since environmental conditions on beaches are already harsh and unpredictable. For example, one dog passing near a colony of nesting seabirds can cause all the birds to panic and subsequently leave their nests dangerously exposed to the hot boiling sun.

Imperiled Beach-nesting Birds (IBNB) Species Conservation Measures and Permitting Guidelines

shorebird montage

The American oystercatcher, snowy plover, black skimmer, and least tern are State-designated Threatened species under Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species Rule. The IBNB Species Conservation Measures and Permitting Guidelines are a tool for landowners, consultants, agency partners and other interested parties on how to conserve these species. Recommended conservation measures and survey methods are included to promote actions that benefit these four species. These guidelines also include options for avoidance of take and options for permitting that minimize and mitigate unavoidable harm or harassment. The approved guidelines will take effect on October 1, 2024.

If take (harm or harassment) of IBNBs is unavoidable during otherwise lawful activities, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission may issue incidental take permits, which must provide a scientific or conservation benefit to the species. Such activities include, but are not limited to, beach construction or development, significant habitat modification, special events with loud noise, or activities occurring on a rooftop during the breeding season. For more information on permitting options for Imperiled Beach-nesting Birds, visit

How you can help protect beach-nesting birds:

  • Never enter areas posted with shorebird/seabird signs.
  • Avoid driving on or beyond the upper beach.
  • Drive slow enough to avoid running over chicks.
  • Keep dogs on a leash and away from areas where birds may be nesting.
  • Keep cats indoors, and do not feed stray cats.
  • Properly dispose of trash to keep predators away.
  • Do not fly kites near areas where birds may be nesting.
  • When birds are aggravated, you are too close.
  • Apply for an Incidental Take Permit to conduct activities when take of IBNBs (harm or harassment) cannot be avoided.
  • Become an IBNB Permitted Monitor or Qualified Rooftop Monitor.
  • Join your local Florida Shorebird Alliance partnership.