Species Monitoring and Protection

| Stewardship Program

The beaches, marshes, mud flats and tidal creeks in North Inlet and Winyah Bay provide critical feeding, hiding, resting, and nesting areas for birds, turtles and fish. The Reserve works with partners to protect these habitats and monitor populations of species of concern.

Shorebird Monitoring and Habitat Protection

Beaches and dunes provide feeding, resting and nesting areas for many species of seabirds and shorebirds. The North Inlet – Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, has erected signs within the Reserve on dune, beach and high sand-shell property to protect shorebird nests. Due to the sensitive nature of the colonies, areas behind bird nesting signs are closed from April 1-October 15 each year providing sufficient time for the chicks to fledge.

The Reserve monitors shorebird populations in North Inlet through field surveys during the spring and fall migrations. Regular monitoring provides key information that guides conservation efforts. Data from our local surveys contributes to an international database that is used to evaluate population trends and the status of species.

The NI-WB Reserve also hosts trainings for the Audubon Shorebird Stewards volunteers, as well as shorebird field identification workshops. 


How can I help protect coastal birds?

  • Stay below the high tide line. Camouflaged eggs and chicks are difficult to see and can be accidentally crushed underfoot.
  • Avoid posted nesting areas. Birds often abandon their nests when approached leaving chicks vulnerable to heat and predators.
  • Keep your dog away from posted areas and resting birds. Even dogs on leash scare birds.
  • Let birds rest. Birds that are repeatedly disturbed cannot spend enough time feeding and resting before their long migrations.
  • Take your trash with you. Birds that fill up on plastic cannot gain the weight needed for their long migrations.

Upcoming Stewardship Program Events

June 2024
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Stewardship Program Contact

Jennifer Plunket

Stewardship Coordinator