By Associated Press - Sunday, July 5, 2015

BILOXI, Miss. (AP) - Members and friends of the Audubon Mississippi Coastal Bird Stewardship Program spent the Independence Day weekend protecting breeding shorebirds from merrymakers and fireworks.

The birds are least terns, which nest on sandy beaches. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s website says they’re considered endangered, threatened or a species of concern in most states where they live.

Program director Sarah Pacyna tells The Sun Herald ( ) that people walking through nesting colonies can scare the birds away from their nests for good.

The organization set up a campsite at Great Southern Golf Club in Gulfport to teach people about the birds through Sunday.

Other volunteers watched the fenced-in nesting areas on the beach.

Pacyna says there were 10,000 nesting pairs on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1983, but only 1,270 in 2013.


Information from: The Sun Herald,

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