Picture an ocean beach. What do you see? Maybe you imagine waves rolling up to a sandy or rocky shore. Perhaps you see people wading and swimming in the surf, while others are relaxing under beach umbrellas or playing games. Most people love a day at the beach. But what about coastal animals? There are fish, crabs, and other aquatic critters in the water. And on the shore and in the air….birds! Lots of birds! What does this place mean for them?
The shore is the place where the land and sea meet. That makes it the perfect habitat for shorebirds, who get their food from the sea and use the land as a place to nest and rest. In spring and summer, shorebirds are laying their eggs and raising their chicks right there on the beach. Other times, shorebirds are stopping off to feed and rest before continuing their migratory journeys between their winter and summer homes.
Sharing our shores with birds and other wildlife means we have a special responsibility. It’s up to us to make sure our actions don’t harm the wild creatures that depend on this habitat for their survival. That means not disturbing birds that are there to feed and to nest and raise their young. It means keeping the sea and shore clean, so that they are healthy places for animals to live and feed. Here’s the good news: Doing what’s good for birds and other wildlife is also doing what’s good for people. Clean and safe shores benefit all living things.
You can find out more about the fascinating birds that share our shores in your Sharing Our Shores magazine. Just click on the cover in the column on the right. And then be sure to have fun taking the online quiz about what you’ve discovered and exploring all the other features you’ll find at Audubon Adventures online.
Photos: Peggy Cook; Amanda Pachomski/Audubon New York