Viewing Seabirds and Shorebirds

  • Use binoculars to observe birds from a safe distance.
  • Do not touch any bird. It is illegal to touch or otherwise physically disturb an active nest.
  • Nest sites are especially vulnerable to human disturbance. If young birds are disturbed close to fledging, this often causes them to leave the nest prematurely.

You can help by not feeding any marine wildlife. It is harmful because:

  • Consuming unsuitable food endangers their health.
  • Feeding changes their behavior and decreases their need to forage for their usual food sources. These behaviors may be passed down to their young and other social group members.
  • They lose their natural cautiousness of humans and can become conditioned to receiving handouts. Some can then become aggressive and have the potential to bite or injure people when teased or expecting food.

For any entangled marine animals, immediately call the NOAA Marine Entanglement Hotline at 1 (800) 900-3622 or (866) 755-NOAA, or hail the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF Channel 16.

Outside of Gulf Islands National Seashore, dial Florida Marine Patrol at (888) 404-FWCC [3922], text, *FWC, or #FWC.

Inside Gulf Island Seashore, call (850) 934-4050.