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Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
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April 11, 2024

Suggested post: DYK some #shorebirds nest on rooftops, including protected species like black skimmers
and least terns? @MyFWC thanks building owners for hosting nesting birds:
accounts/FLFFWCC/bulletins/3959f41 #Florida

oystercatchers on roof with skyline in background
Building owners provide rooftop-nesting habitat for shorebirds

Shorebirds and seabirds typically nest directly on beaches along Florida’s coasts but as shorelines get busier,
species such as black skimmers, least terns, roseate terns and American oystercatchers increasingly use gravel
rooftops to nest and raise chicks. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) thanks those
building owners hosting shorebird and seabird species nesting on their roofs this season.

Shorebird and seabird nesting season takes place in Florida between Feb. 15 and Sept.1 – varying by region
and county. Most rooftop nesting occurs between April and September, but rooftop nesting can begin as early
as February for American oystercatchers in some regions. Building rooftops provide important alternative
nesting habitat for shorebirds and seabirds, as most species nesting on rooftops are imperiled.  Approximately
50% of Florida’s least tern population relies upon rooftops for nesting.

Building owners and managers are key to the success of shorebirds nesting on rooftops. If you own or manage
a building where shorebirds or seabirds are nesting on the roof, you can help with nesting success by giving
the nesting birds space and coordinating with your FWC Regional Shorebird Biologist. To find a regional
shorebird biologist near you, go to and click on “Shorebird Nest Dates and Contacts.”

For buildings that have shorebirds nesting on rooftops, it is recommended that routine maintenance and non-
emergency repairs be conducted outside of shorebird nesting season, between September and February. If un-
expected repairs are required during the nesting season, building owners can work with FWC regional shore-
bird biologists to determine if take could occur and how to apply if a permit is needed. 

least tern near next with eggs
You can help with nesting success, even if you don’t own or manage a building where shorebirds or
seabirds are nesting:

-If you are staying at a hotel or visiting a business that has rooftop nesting birds, thank management
and staff for supporting shorebird and seabird conservation.

-Become a Qualified Rooftop Monitor.

-When on the beach, do the flock walk — keep at least 300 feet from nesting birds and walk around
flocks of birds and stay out of posted areas. Getting too close to nesting shorebirds, seabirds and
wading birds can cause them to flush from their breeding sites, leaving vulnerable eggs and chicks
exposed to the elements and predators.

-Keep pets at home. Even well-behaved dogs can frighten shorebirds, causing them to abandon their
eggs and chicks. If you bring your dog with you to the shore, go to a beach where they’re allowed
and follow all leash laws.

-Properly stash all trash. Trash and food scraps attract predators, such as raccoons and crows, that
prey on shorebird eggs and chicks. Litter on beaches and in the water can entangle birds, turtles and
other wildlife. Beachgoers can help beach-nesting birds and other native wildlife by properly disposing
of all trash, filling in man-made holes in the sand, and removing all personal gear from the beach before
sunset. Fishing line can be deadly to waterbirds, sea turtles and other wildlife, so be sure to dispose of it
properly. To find a monofilament recycling station near you, visit

-Look for Critical Wildlife Area closures. Be on the lookout for signs designating Critical Wildlife Areas
on the beach or coastal islands – these areas are closed to public access to protect high concentrations of
wading birds and shorebirds while they nest and raise their chicks. Boaters and beachgoers can help nesting
birds by keeping distance and noise volumes low near CWAs.

For more information, go to and click on “Rooftop Nesting.”

Spring is an active time for many of Florida’s wildlife species. For more information on wildlife in Spring,
visit and click on “Spring Wildlife News.”

oystercatcher incubating egss on rooftop

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QUESTIONS? Contact the FWC
Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission ·
620 S. Meridian Street ·
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600 ·
(850) 488-4676 GovDelivery logo
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