Brevard Zoo Conservation Report 2016 | Page 15

Protecting nest sites

Luckily , wildlife management agencies are working to protect remaining seabird nesting habitats along the beaches and also in some of the more creative places ( like sandy construction sites and gravel rooftops ) that these species have moved to in light of habitat shortages . Since 2009 , we have helped those efforts by recruiting volunteers for the Space Coast chapter of the Florida Shorebird Alliance ( FSA ), a citizen science network that records abundance and locations .

Volunteers needed

During the spring nesting season , Zoo volunteers perform monthly surveys across Brevard County , identifying species like least terns , black skimmers , black-necked stilts and killdeer , recording the presence of any nests or chicks at each site . Typically , volunteers keep track of several hundred birds each season , and up to 90 nests have been found at a single site .
Black Skimmer
• Most active at dusk and dawn
• Hunts by feel , dragging lower bill in the water to snap up fish
Rooftop nesting pros & cons
• Gravel roofs simulate a beach , where birds scrape out nest sites
• Elevation protects nests from many common predators
• Next-best-thing in absence of natural beach habitat
• Rooftop nesting colonies can be an annoyance for building residents
• Chicks sometimes fall off roofs and down drains –" chick-a-boom " devices can be used to return them to their nests