TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ State wildlife officials are warning beachgoers to avoid shorebirds nesting on Florida’s coastlines.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says increased development and human activity on barrier island beaches are among the reasons snowy plovers and other beach-nesting birds are listed as threatened or endangered.
The snowy plover nests along Gulf Coast beaches through August.
Officials say its population in Florida has shrunk to as few as 200 nesting pairs.
Shorebirds lay well-camouflaged eggs in shallow depressions in the sand, making them nearly invisible. Wildlife officials say beachgoers should avoid posted nesting areas.
Any disturbance can cause shorebirds to abandon their nests, leaving the eggs and chicks exposed to predators and the elements.
It’s illegal to harass or take any endangered or threatened birds or their eggs.