Audubon Coastal Bird Survey
In 2010, National Audubon Society staff developed the citizen-science program, the Audubon Coastal Bird Survey (ACBS), in response to the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil disaster. Initially meant to track the short-term impacts of oiling on birds, ACBS evolved into a monitoring effort to track coastal bird populations. The surveys capture data during the fall and spring migrations as well as over-wintering periods and are used to understand diversity and abundance of species along the Mississippi coastline. The surveys allow Audubon scientists to better assess threats and identify targets for species of conservation concern across different life stages and habitats, and provide data on critical gaps of knowledge for this area. The data collected are also helping to provide important guidance into sites potentially receiving future restoration efforts.
Colonial Seabird Monitoring
Coastal Mississippi is notable during spring and summer, particularly due to the presence of Least Tern and Black Skimmer colonies, many of which have a long history here. AMCBSP monitors Least Terns and Black Skimmers on the front beaches of Harrison and Hancock counties, and on the near-shore island, Deer Island, with the goal of understanding population trends and factors influencing survival and reproduction of these species of conservation concern.
Stewardship and Engagement
AMCBSP strives to impart knowledge about coastal birds and the risks that threaten their survival while concomitantly fostering an experiential environment motivating conservation action. A wide range of volunteer opportunities exist to help connect people with birds and nature.
Never missing an opportunity to share information about Mississippi’s coastal birds, AMCBSP is constantly on the road and can be found at places such as, but not limited to, fairs, festivals, libraries, Science Cafes, and scout meetings. Outreach is fundamental to changing people’s perceptions and attitudes about conservation. By engaging people through fun learning activities, AMCBSP shares the basic biology and ecology of coastal birds and their main threats. Participants are encouraged to take their new knowledge and explore it through conservation action.
In 1975, a group of dedicated birders launched a “Nest in Peace” project to steward colonial nesting birds on Harrison County beaches. The Mississippi Coast Audubon Society was chartered the next year under the parent organization, National Audubon Society, and has been a leader in coastal bird stewardship in the state, with support in the past decade from Audubon Mississippi. AMCBSP’s stewardship work dovetails with the Mississippi Coast Audubon Society and will protect more than 75% of nesting Least Terns as well as several large Black Skimmer colonies. AMCBSP will train volunteers, work with local law enforcement officials, and forge strategic partnerships with other agencies to promote protection of beach-nesting bird populations. Volunteer stewards are needed in late Spring and Summer, especially for the 4th of July holiday. Please consider volunteering for this effort.
AMCBSP’s research programs empowers citizen scientists, of all ages and skill-sets, to gather practical hands-on skills through experiential learning while participating in any of our science programs. To see the results of our 2014-2015 report, click on the document below.