Punta Gorda Chamber Guide 2022

Punta Gorda Chamber Guide 2022

2022 Members and Visitors Guide for the Punta Gorda Area

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Page 35 of 143

Page 36 2022 Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce Members & Visitors Guide BY MARY LUNDEBERG Correspondent Did you know that not all birds nest in trees? In our area, many seabirds scrape small nests in the sand, where they hatch downy young that can barely be seen. The chicks of snowy plovers and Wilson's plovers race and rest in the dunes and along the wrack line, feeding themselves small invertebrates such as insects and crustaceans. The flightless chicks are vulnerable to predators until they fledge at roughly 21 days, so both parents follow, occasionally taking them under their wing to protect them from threats. Hearing the adults' call — a sharp whistled "wheep" — warns me that chicks are near. Time to back away! In contrast to the plovers, who are solitary nesters, least terns and black skimmers nest in noisy, active colonies on the beach. Sections of some beaches are roped off to protect the camouflaged eggs and chicks from accidental trampling. Please respect protected areas. KEEP DOGS FROM NESTS It's especially important to keep dogs away from these areas. Just the presence of a dog on the beach may scare away nesting birds, who then abandon eggs and chicks. Birds disturbed from their nests for 10 minutes in the hot Florida sun can result in eggs killed by overheating, and untended chicks become easy pickings for predators. Gulls, crows, hawks, raccoons, coyotes, dogs and feral cats can snatch eggs and chicks, in spite of the mobbing defense mounted by the parent birds. I use a long telephoto lens (1200mm) to ensure my presence doesn't disturb the birds. Share local beaches with the birds WaterLine photos by Mary Lundeberg A snowy plover shading a chick. A Wilson's plover chick races along the wrack line of a local beach.

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