Charleston Animal Society Teaming Up with Audubon South Carolina for New Shorebird Protection Program
This Memorial Day Weekend, be on the lookout for bright yellow frisbees being passed out on Lowcountry beaches to raise awareness about shorebirds.
Charleston Animal Society is teaming up with Audubon South Carolina in a brand new campaign called “Let ‘em Rest, Let ‘em Nest.” The campaign is designed to share ways to protect the hundreds of thousands of shorebirds that use South Carolina beaches to replenish energy, find food and to hatch their young.
“It is of the utmost importance that we respect the birds during this time. Let’s show them a little southern hospitality,” said Nolan Schillerstrom, the Coastal Program Coordinator for Audubon South Carolina. “When the birds reach our beaches it’s like a layover when traveling on an airplane – they haven’t made it to their final destination yet and they are tired, hungry and desperate to rest and refuel in order to survive the rest of their journey.”
Any disturbance to migrating birds during their time spent on the South Carolina coast can be life threatening. Using extra strength to escape or fend off intruders, being chased by dogs or children or even scarcity of food and habitat can derail a bird’s migration and nesting.
“The best thing we can do is simply ‘let ‘em rest, and let ‘em nest’ and give the birds plenty of space so they don’t feel threatened,” Schillerstrom added. “For these birds, it’s the difference between life and death.”
As part of the program, Audubon volunteers will be seen on area beaches passing out free, bright yellow frisbees with the message “Let ‘em Rest, Let ‘em Nest.” A team involving Charleston Animal Society and Audubon South Carolina developed the discs.
“We want to do whatever we can to educate people on the importance of keeping dogs away from birds on the beach,” said Charleston Animal Society CEO Joe Elmore. “We protect all animals, including birds.”
Audubon South Carolina suggests simple ways you can help shorebirds:
1. Let ‘em Rest, and Let ’em Nest.
2. Keep a safe distance (>50 yards) from nesting and resting birds on the beach. If you notice that you are altering their behavior in any way, you are too close.
3. Don’t allow children or pets to chase birds. Just because your pet doesn’t “catch” a bird, doesn’t mean the bird isn’t affected.
4. Be proactive with responsible dog ownership and keep dogs on a leash near shorebirds and away from designated nesting areas.
Visit http://sc.audubon.org/coasts to learn more.
Interviews and photo opportunity are available upon request.