One of the reasons that Louisiana has the reputation of being the Sportsman's Paradise is the abundance of birds that fly through the state. We are on one of the major migratory bird routes and let's face it, our abundant wetlands and wide-open spaces provide excellent habitat for birds that are breeding as well as for those that are just passing through.

One of the species of birds that uses Louisiana's beaches for a breeding ground is the Least Tern. They usually lay their eggs in nests along the sandy beaches of our coast between the months of April and July.

Every year when the birds build their nests and lay their eggs volunteers carefully mark the nests so they won't be disturbed by another animal that likes the beach. That would be us, you know, humans.

But alas even the best efforts of like-minded naturalists can't keep man's intrusion into nature from happening. Such was the case this past week when members of Audubon Louisiana discovered significant damage to the Least Tern nesting sites at Rutherford Beach. 

Volunteers had fenced off an area about half a mile long last Wednesday only to discover on Monday that hundreds of active nests had been reduced to just three. Fortunately, the birds can start over but they can only do that so many times.

Audubon officials say beach driving, loose dogs, kids flying kites, and not paying attention can all disturb or destroy nesting sites. It's not as if people are maliciously destroying them, but still we can do better at paying attention as to where the nesting sites are.

The beaches will probably be very busy over the Memorial Day weekend, we hope that if you're traveling to Rutherford Beach or any of our coastal getaways that you won't disturb the other tourists, you know the ones with the feathers and the beaks.


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