The Fort De Soto Park Bird Sanctuary project is a joint partnership between Pinellas County government led by Park Supervisor Jim Wilson and the Suncoast Shorebird Partnership under the direction of Professor Beth Forys of Eckerd College. 102 species of birds have been recorded using the protected area during the past 6 years along with the successful nesting of several imperiled shorebird species. Several imperiled migrating shorebirds rest and feed in the sanctuary. With the help of volunteer bird stewards and the wonderful staff rangers, this special protected area has become a world-renowned birding oasis!

There are 5 species of shorebirds birds that have nested in the Sanctuary. American Oystercatchers, Snowy and Wilson’s Plovers who nest in solitary pairs on the beach amongst the vegetation. Seabirds including Black Skimmers and Least Terns have nested on the sanctuary in colonies.

Black Skimmer with Chick

Wilson’s Plover sitting on eggs.

Female Snowy Plover with fledged chick in the Sanctuary 2011.


American Oystercatcher with chick.

Least Tern with chick.

Some birds live here year-round while other birds nest elsewhere and are spending their winter with us or are just passing through during their migratory routes North and South . All of the birds that feed and rest in the sanctuary need to conserve energy and put on fat for the challenging breeding season ahead and perhaps a long flight. Please keep your distance from these birds so they don’t waste energy flying away from you, respect ANY AND ALL posted areas.

The Sanctuary is a nursery for the next generation of babies AND an important resting area for migrating birds such as:

The federally endangered Piping Plover, often seen wearing identification bands in winter or migration while using the Sanctuary for resting and feeding.

A highly threatened Red Knot, a long-distance shorebird species often seen flagged for migration studies while it winters with us at the Sanctuary.

The Bird Sanctuary is the one little spot along 7 miles of gorgeous beach that is strictly for the birds. Let’s share the beach with the beautiful creatures that make our visit to Fort De Soto Park special with our respect and protection!!!!