Black Skimmer Shorebirds Summer Nesting

Black skimmer shorebirds, among others, are summer nesting along the beaches in Boca Grande, Florida. The nests of the black skimmer shorebirds are simple indentions in the sand. The female will usually lay between 4-5 eggs and both parents help with incubation. As a matter of fact, with these progressive couples, the male often handles most of that job!

Black Skimmer Shorebirds

There are many shorebirds nesting along the beaches. Habitat loss and degradation associated with coastal development has largely restricted many of these species to stretches of beach within parks and preserves.

This group of birds is particularly sensitive to human disturbance since environmental conditions on beaches are already harsh and unpredictable. ~Florida Wildlife Commission


Protect Nesting Birds

According to FWC, there are several ways you can help to protect these animals.

      • Never enter areas posted with shorebird/seabird signs.
      • Avoid driving on or beyond the upper beach.
      • Drive slow enough to avoid running over chicks.
      • Keep dogs on a leash and away from areas where birds may be nesting.
      • Keep cats indoors, and do not feed stray cats.
      • Properly dispose of trash to keep predators away.
      • Do not fly kites near areas where birds may be nesting.
      • When birds are aggravated, you are too close.

Black Skimmer Shorebirds

Black Skimmer Shorebirds

The black skimmers tend to stand out because of their black wings and head. Their thick orange and black beaks against the white face make them hard to miss.

Black skimmers find food by feel and not by sight. They use those fat, uneven beaks to scoop up fish swimming just below the surface of the water. Both the male and female will return to the nest to share their food with the small chicks.

black skimmer
Photo: Brian Kushner/Audubon Photography Awards 7 of 9


The young wander in the vicinity of the nest after a few days. If danger threatens the chicks, they may attempt to look inconspicuous by lying flat on beach, even kicking up sand to make a hollow to lie in. Babies are able to fly at about 23-25 days.

It is common to see Black Skimmer Shorebirds in Boca Grande all year long. Please be sure to observe all of the bird nesting sanctuary and turtle nesting signs along the beach. Download the Living with Beach Nesting Birds brochure from FWC to identify other shorebirds, or download the Share the Beach brochure here to learn about beach cleaning practices you can use to make a difference.

Learn about Cracker Houses of Florida here.

Read about Historic Fish Houses of Charlotte Harbor here.