Bird Steward Program

Bird Stewarding Volunteers needed

What is a Bird Steward? 

- Holley Short

What is a bird steward? A bird steward is a volunteer that is dedicated to protecting our beautiful beaches and nesting shorebirds/seabirds.

What will they will be doing when bird stewarding? 

A steward conducts outreach at nesting sites, either solitary or colonial, and answers any questions and provides information about the nesting species. (S)he will also help ensure that beachgoers are understanding and respectful of the posted areas and educational signage. A new steward doesn't need to be a bird expert - all new volunteers are trained and given the tools they need to be successful!

  # of hours per shift 

At least two hours per shift is highly suggested. This allows a steward to effectively conduct outreach. More hours (3-4) are encouraged in order to have complete coverage during the busy weekends and holidays!

Locations: Stewards are needed at a number of sites - Ft. DeSoto, St. Pete Beach, Indian Shores, Sand Key, and Three Rooker Island. We recommend stewarding at a local spot near you!

Dates needed Weekends are always in need of stewards. The big holiday weekends are Memorial Day weekend and the 4th of July weekend. All sites are in desperate need for reliable stewards during those big 3-day holiday weekends!

Contact info Holley Short, Project Manager for Bird Stewardship and Monitoring at I can provide information about nesting sites and direct those interested to the right anchor steward or site coordinator.

Volunteers are needed to protect shorebird colonies. Audubon Florida oversees the Bird Stewarding program. Holley Short is the Program Manager, Bird Monitoring & Stewardship. 

The new colony on Clearwater Point has over 400 skimmers . There are chairs/umbrellas provided as well as parking at 625 S. Gulfview Blvd, Clearwater. We are asking those that help out to print out temporary parking passes identifying themselves as Audubon bird stewards. Monica Craig, the anchor steward, will be out there tomorrow (Saturday) from 11-3pm. I will also be out Sunday from 11-3pm. We so far have a few stewards signed up for those days, but we will need more and for in the future!

The Black Skimmers started nesting today! Monica and I found a nest, and we roped off the colony behind Crabby Bill's. They will also need more stewards to help. Monica will be out at St Pete Beach Sunday. Dolphin Beach Resort and Selene's have opened up two parking spaces each for stewards.

If anyone is interested, have them contact Monica at or at 727-366-2791. She'll be able to help get volunteers scheduled at the two different sites.

Birds Stewarding 2016

Thank you. After more than 9 years of working and developing a successful Beach Nesting Bird Program, in the late summer of 2015, SPAS board members met with a Audubon Florida representative  After quite a bit of discussion, St. Pete Audubon was asked if they would relinquish the program to Audubon Florida and Florida Fish and Wildlife. Our understanding was their goal and reason was, to not only finance this endeavor, but they were going to utilize this program for nesting shorebirds on beaches and roof tops throughout the state of Florida. 

A big thank you to all our volunteers and financial supporters that made this program so successful. Hope to see some of you volunteering this coming season and wishing them success in managing this program on such a large scale. The success of this program is dependent on volunteers.

These recipients went far above and beyond helping us to support the Beach-Nesting Bird program.

Extra Ordinary Volunteers

2015 Bird Steward Program Report

Saskia Janes, St. Petersburg Audubon BIrd Steward Program Coordinator has written a comprehensive report of the 2015 season.  Please download and read the PDF version of this successful program.

2015 Bird Stewart Report

This program is grateful for the support and participation of volunteer Bird Stewards, an essential component of this program, as well as St. Petersburg Audubon Board and members of Audubon. Thanks also to partnerships with Florida Shorebird Alliance; Florida Fish & Wildlife Law Enforcement; Town of Indian Shores - Mayor Jim Lawrence, Darlyn Stockfisch and Malcolm Green; Audubon Florida; Clearwater Audubon Society; Suncoast Shorebird Partnership; Eckerd College; Baystar Properties; Friends of Tampa Bay National Wildlife Refuges; Pinellas County Parks; Pinellas County Sheriff; Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary; and National Audubon Society. We are grateful to have Dave Hopkins, Paul Ingham (both from Clearwater Audubon) and Mel Rollins (St. Pete Audubon) donate their time and expertise to the actual posting construction process at the beginning of each season.

Black Skimmers and Chick photo by Jim Gray
Photo - Jim Gray

At Indian Shores, many beach visitors lit off fireworks near the boundaries of the beach-nesting bird areas. Many Black Skimmer (BLSK) chicks scattered as parents flew during all the fireworks.

No Fireworks  BLSK chick

Corralled BLSK chick  Setting Up Fence parameter
Photos - Kim Kandz

From Kevin Chrisman FB, former St. Pete Audubon Bird Steward

You all might enjoy this. On July 29, 2012, my friend Rob and I found this banded Semipalmated Plover while Bird Stewarding with St. Pete Audubon at Ft. DeSoto, in Pinellas County, FL. Luckily, Rob got a great photo! We reported the sighting at the time but never heard anything back. Thanks to groups like this, I found another contact who was banding SEPL and sent them the reisighting info. 


The photo bounced between a few researches and eventually I found out this from the Biologist who banded it: This guy "was captured on its nest and banded in 2011 on Niglintgak Island in the Kendall Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Mackenzie Delta, Northwest Territories. It was re-sighted on the breeding grounds in 2012 on Fish Island (just outside the sanctuary). It was not seen in 2013 or 2014. We weren’t at that study site in 2015; we plan to return there in 2020." That is a journey of just over 3555 miles!!! That is awesome.

SEPL's trek 

Pat Verdino,
Jul 12, 2017, 7:47 PM
Pat Verdino,
Jul 12, 2017, 7:47 PM