Share Our Shores

How to have a bird-friendly visit to the beach

Dog free beaches keep tiny chicks safe

At Sunken Meadow, there is not much room for birds to nest. Therefore, it is best to keep dogs away from this nesting beach to give birds space without causing them additional stress. You can help beach nesting birds during this crucial nesting season by enjoying a dog-friendly site near you

Unfortunately, shorebirds cannot tell the difference between a pet and a predator. Birds often waste energy leading harmless pets away from their nest, leaving an opening for other predators–like crows or gulls–to snatch a quick meal of eggs or even a chick. This can delay their nesting timeline.

Keeping dogs off this nesting beach during the breeding season reduces stress to shorebirds and allows them to focus their energy on the most important things: protecting their nests and chicks from real predators.

An Important Place for Birds

Each summer, beach-nesting birds–like the Piping Plover and Least Tern–lay their eggs directly on the sand and raise their chicks on New York State Parks on Long Island, including right here at Sunken Meadow State Park!

Sunken Meadow is a great place for wildlife on the north shore. It has beaches and marshes where birds build nests, rest, and forage for food.

Least Tern with chicks in the nest

Piping Plover Adult with Chicks Charadrius melodus Plymouth Beach, Massachusetts

Piping Plover with chicks

Activities that seem harmless, like kids chasing birds, can actually cause a lot of distress to shorebirds. Next time you are at the beach, watch out for these signs that a bird is disturbed:
  • Did the bird fly away when you approached it?

  • Did the bird stop feeding and start walking away or look at you on alert?

  • Did the bird call out or act like it was injured to draw you away from its young?

If you noticed any of these bird behaviors, then you are probably too close. Try rounding your path to walk farther around the flock or the individual bird.


You can show your commitment by signing the pledge to take action for birds!

By pledging to Share the Shore yourself and spread the message to others, you’ll join a united effort of “good eggs”– people just like you who are committed to helping birds.

Featured Video

Home Sweet Home

Reducing dog disturbance of shorebirds

Shorebirds face many threats, including habitat loss, predation, climate change, and human disturbance, that prevent them from tending to their young and getting the food they need to survive.


Hogar Dulce Hogar

Perturbación de las aves migratorias

Cada año, mientras visitamos nuestro destino playero favorito para tomar el sol y divertirnos, las aves playeras y marinas regresan de sus zonas de invernada en el Caribe y América del Sur para comer, descansar, aparearse y criar a sus polluelos en la playa. Estas aves se enfrentan a muchas amenazas durante la migración, como la pérdida de hábitat, cacería, depredación, el cambio climático y perturbaciones humanas que las alejan del alimento que necesitan para sobrevivir.

Useful Resources

Contact Information

Audubon New York

Sunken Meadow State Park 
(631) 269-4333