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Landscape, Coast & Nature

Baby birds of the Bay need our help to survive the Summer

As the summer holidays begin and beaches become busier, beach-nesting birds struggle to protect their families. But simple changes to our behaviour during the breeding season will give the young chicks the space they need to survive.

Baby Birds of the Bay need our help

If you're heading out to one of the Bay's beautiful beaches this summer, you may be lucky enough to spot some rare bird families well camouflaged amongst the pebbles and shingle. But did you know that beach-goers, off-lead dogs and vehicles pose a huge threat to birds like oystercatchers and ringed plover because their eggs can be accidentally crushed and adults scared away from their chicks, leaving them at risk of attack from predators like crows and foxes?

“Right now, beach nesting birds have young chicks that aren’t yet able to fly and depend on their parents to keep them safe. When you’re visiting a beach, especially if it is on a coastal nature reserve, it’s important to look for signs that indicate there are birds nesting on the shore. Keeping to paths and keeping dogs on leads will keep them safe until they are strong enough to fly at the end of summer.”

Amy Hopley
Nature and Wildlife Officer

Chicks can't fly until about 3-4 weeks after hatching, so they are extra vulnerable during this time. But there are three easy things that everyone can do to help chicks survive.

When visiting a beach:

  1. Look out for signs and follow any instructions on them.
  2. Keep to marked paths and out of cordoned-off areas.
  3. Keep dogs on leads where requested to do so.

The iconic Morecambe Bay birds at risk include oystercatchers, eider ducks and ringed plover because they lay their eggs directly onto pebble, sand or shingle beaches. Their eggs and chicks are extremely well camouflaged – an adaptation that keeps them safe from crows, foxes or other hungry predators, but means they are very vulnerable to disturbance or destruction by us humans.

We're working with the RSPB to protect these feathered families by raising awareness of how everyone can help coastal birds raise their chicks successfully. Find out more about the Life on the Edge project here and about the birds of the Bay by following Morecambe Bay Partnership: