Shorebird Nesting Season Is Upon Us!

March has arrived!

…and that means Spring is just around the corner. With Spring comes new life, both in our landscapes and on our shores. It will very soon be time for many migratory species of birds to come back to the Carolinas in order to bring their new little lives to us!

This is a great guide to the birds of coatal Carolina!

The predominant species that come to nest on our shoreline are Wilson’s Plovers, American Oystercatchers, and Least Terns.Their nesting season occurs from mid-March to mid-October. They tend to nest in the low lying dunes or out on the open beach making them most likely to come in conflict with people. It is critical to the newborns survival that we are very conscious of where we’re walking along the dunes so as not to disturb or even destroy the eggs. 

We have been thrilled for the last few years waiting and watching for the birds to come back to Sunset Beach. They seem to come back to approximately the same place as they did in previous years. If you’re interested in experiencing this beauty of nature, we’d suggest the far East end of the island. See the map just below:

Google map of the East end of SB showing the previous nesting areas. The dunes at the point have been mostly leveled in the last 3 years from storm activity

You may see as many as 4 oystercatchers and they may be nesting on flat ground in front of the dunes. Their nests are simply shallow holes where the adults take turns sitting on the nest. We were lucky last year to find the 2 nests early and the nests could be cordoned off to protect the birds and the eggs. It’s important to stay as far away as possible from the nest. Once the adult feels endangered, it will move away from the nest until the ‘coast is clear.’ Repeated occurrences such as this can have negative results on the eggs. The farther away we stay, the better off the birds will be. If you’d like to photograph, please bring a telephoto lens so you don’t have to get too close. It’s also possible to hide in the dunes behind the nests if they do indeed make their nests on flat ground. In years past when the dunes were much taller on the east end, the nests would be hidden in the grass on the dunes. 

Just below you can read about the habits of two of the most common nesting shorebirds here at the beach: the American Oystercatcher and the Wilson Plover.

To view the full web page, please click here.

To view the full web page, please click here.

Here you can see a number of photos from over the last few years of some of the birds we’ve seen nesting out on Sunset Beach. Please click on any photo to view it full size. You are welcome to share to social media or send as a FREE E-card.





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