Egmont Key is a prime ecosystem that is important to birds and other wildlife.
Black Skimmers, Least Terns, American Oystercatchers, White Ibis, Brown Pelicans, Wilson’s Plovers, Sandwich Terns, Royal Terns, Pelicans, Laughing Gulls and many more have nested on the Refuge islands and beaches. Beautiful wading birds grace the shoreline including the seldom seen white morph Reddish Egret.
Besides, Egmont Key, being rich with wildlife, it has a fascinating historical significance. Learn about becoming a Bird Steward or Docent.
Most people don’t know that our birds nest on the beaches. They know about the sea turtles but not the birds. As stewards, we help educate beach visitors about the beach nesting birds. Beach visitors are very interested in why we are sitting there and really enjoy seeing the chicks through our scopes or binoculars. When people recognize the roped off bird areas like they recognize the sea turtle nests, our birds will have a chance. Stewards keep their eyes open for dogs on the beaches. Dogs can decimate a nesting colony in just a few minutes. We also keep alert for beach visitors who unknowingly wander into closed areas. Stewards do make a difference for a nesting colony. You can make a difference.
Please consider spending a day as a bird steward any weekend or holiday from Spring through Labor Day. We need more than a 6 volunteers per weekend to adequately cover our south county nesting sites. Three day holiday weekends require 18 volunteers! Training is provided on site. Educational information is at your fingertips during the day. Free transportation to Egmont Key are provided.
In preparation for the 2016 bird nesting season, training for Egmont Key bird stewards and guardhouse docents will be held Friday, April 29th at Lake Seminole Park, Shelter 2, 6 p.m.
Please plan to attend whether you are a returning volunteer or a new one. Instruction will given by Federal Wildlife Officer Ryan Maier. Joyce Galiardo, Bird Steward Coordinator and President Barb Howard will give information on logistics.
Lake Seminole Park is located at 10015 Park Blvd, Seminole which is between Starkey Rd and Seminole Blvd. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Contact Joyce Galiardo 727-460-0124. We hope to see you there.