The Beach Nesting Bird Project is being led by our Coastal Biologist, Taylor Bennett, and assisting her is GCBO intern, Morgan Barnes. The program monitors and protects three species of beach nesting birds: Wilson’s Plover, Least Tern, and Black Skimmer. These species are considered species of high concern due to loss of habitat, climate change, and human disturbance. They monitor three sites: Bryan Beach, Matagorda Beach, and DOW Chemical Plant A.
Beach nesting season is in full swing for the Wilson’s Plovers at Matagorda Beach. Taylor and Morgan have located 17 nests and four mystery broods. Adult birds and chicks are banded to help keep track of the pairs and broods. This season, we have banded 13 adults and 7 chicks so far. There are currently 11 small downy chicks running around and we are expecting to see more within the next couple of weeks as more nests start to hatch. It will be another month before the chicks are ready to fly.
The Least Terns are having a tough season. The colony has already failed in two spots due to over-wash from storms and flooding. There are only 20 adults with 6 incubating nests at the moment.
Due to the pandemic, GCBO has been unable to check on the Dow Black Skimmer colony. Luckily, we have two volunteer Dow employees, Keith Wise and Ron Weeks, to help keep track of them weekly. There are currently 1232 adult Black Skimmers with around 20 nests as well as 11 Least Tern nests and 5 chicks.