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Hundreds of protected birds and chicks nesting on popular Pinellas County beaches

Posted: 8:50 PM, Jun 24, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-24 20:50:31-04
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PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. -- People heading to some Pinellas County beaches are encountering hundreds of protected birds nesting on the sand.

"Picture a typical bird’s nest and take away everything and replace it with a depression in the sand, and that is it," said Holley Short of Audubon Florida.

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Black Skimmers are a protected group of sea birds that nest in colonies and lay their eggs on top of the sand. More than 600 birds are nesting in a fenced off area of St. Pete Beach.

Wildlife experts and volunteers stand near the area on weekends to educate people about the birds and why people need to keep their distance.

"Their eggs are incredibly camouflaged, as are their chicks, they are sand colored and people are at risk of stepping on eggs or chicks," said Short.

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Because Black Skimmers are protected birds, it is illegal to disturb them.

Experts say their goal is to education people about the species and help keep the birds safe this nesting season.

If you are interested in volunteering contact Holley Short at: hshort@audubon.org .