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    Friday, June 21, 2024

    Protecting the shorebirds in Old Lyme

    Volunteers and staff with The Nature Conservancy, Audubon Connecticut and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection carry signs and fencing to a popular nesting area at Griswold Point in Old Lyme Monday, April 15, 2024. The groups work together as Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds to protect and monitor shorebirds at over 50 sites across the state. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Volunteer James Buchanan, of Wallingford, lays a line of string as volunteers and staff with The Nature Conservancy, Audubon Connecticut and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection install signs and fencing to protect shorebirds and their nesting areas at Griswold Point in Old Lyme on Monday, April 15, 2024. The groups work together as Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds to protect and monitor shorebirds at over 50 sites across the state. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Volunteer Wes Frank, left, of Norwich, and Volunteer Coordinator Martha Rice with the The Nature Conservancy install a sign reminding visitors of the dog rule at Griswold Point in Old Lyme on Monday, April 15, 2024. The conservancy along with Audubon Connecticut and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection work together as Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds to protect and monitor shorebirds at over 50 sites across the state. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Elizabeth Amendola, senior coordinator of Audubon Connecticut’s Coastal Program, carries signs to a nesting area as volunteers and staff with The Nature Conservancy, Audubon Connecticut and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection install signs and fencing to protect shorebirds and their nesting areas at Griswold Point in Old Lyme on Monday, April 15, 2024. The groups work together as Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds to protect and monitor shorebirds at over 50 sites across the state. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Ben Inclima, a shorebird monitor with Audubon Connecticut, starts to install a fence to protect shorebirds and their nesting areas at Griswold Point in Old Lyme on Monday, April 15, 2024. The nonprofit organization, along with The Nature Conservancy and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection work together as Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds to protect and monitor shorebirds at over 50 sites across the state. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Juliana Horne, left, and Tayler Grimm, field staff members with Audubon Connecticut, carry fencing to a nesting area as volunteers and staff with The Nature Conservancy, Audubon Connecticut and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection install signs and fencing to protect shorebirds and their nesting areas at Griswold Point in Old Lyme on Monday, April 15, 2024. The groups work together as Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds to protect and monitor shorebirds at over 50 sites across the state. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Old Lyme ― Volunteers and staff with The Nature Conservancy, Audubon Connecticut and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection installed signs and fencing Monday at Griswold Point to protect shorebirds and their nesting areas.

    The groups work together as Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds to protect and monitor shorebirds at over 50 sites across the state. At Griswold Point they focus on the vulnerable species of piping plover, threatened federally and in the state, least terns, threatened in the state, and American oystercatchers, threatened in the state. All three species of birds, along with other shorebirds, are frequently seen in the area.

    The Nature Conservancy volunteer coordinator Martha Rice helped volunteers set up fencing and place string to keep visitors back from areas where shorebirds often nest. They also installed signs reminding visitors dogs are not allowed during bird nesting season from April 1 to Sept. 1 to protect eggs and chicks.

    “These birds are easily disturbed,” said Rice, “especially during the nesting season when they’re the most vulnerable.” She noted that some nests, like those of the piping plover, are small and hard to see even for those who are looking and being cautious.

    When birds notice other animals around, even leashed dogs, she said, they stay away from their nests for longer, which can cause the eggs to lose heat and the nests to be more vulnerable to predators.

    “It takes all of us coming together to get this done and help the birds,” said Elizabeth Amendola, senior coordinator of Audubon Connecticut’s Coastal Program. “No one organization has the funding or manpower to be able to do this alone.”

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