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State Wildlife Officials: On Fourth, Be Considerate Of Babies On Beaches

Shorebirds like the least tern nest on beaches and can be scared away by loud noises and bright lights.

On holidays like the Fourth of July, Floridians like to head to the beach. But state wildlife officials are reminding the public that some local residents are already there.

Shorebirds and sea turtles nest on beaches. A lot of shorebird species are listed as threatened and all the bird species are protected. The same goes for sea turtles.

Loud noises can cause adult birds to fly away from nests, and tiny chicks can get separated from their parents.

July is the height of sea turtle nesting season. Female sea turtles come ashore at night to lay their eggs. They can be disoriented by bright lights and loud noises.

Sea turtle hatchlings are also starting to emerge from nests laid earlier in the spring. Lights and noise can also disorient the hatchlings, which use natural light to navigate their way to the sea.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is asking the public to keep personal fireworks off the beach, and stay away from posted nesting areas.

Nancy Klingener covers the Florida Keys for WLRN. Since moving to South Florida in 1989, she has worked for the Miami Herald, Solares Hill newspaper and the Monroe County Public Library.