It was a hot and steamy day atop a rooftop seabird colony in Pinellas County. Least Tern, Black Skimmer, and American Oystercatcher chicks sought refuge from the sun’s glare beneath their parents or in the fragments of shade they could find on the gravel roof. While this unorthodox habitat may seem like a strange place for successful bird nesting, terns, oystercatchers, and skimmers have flocked to rooftops to raise chicks away from ground predators and human disturbance. To shorebirds and seabirds, a gravel rooftop looks like a beach of white pebbles.
But nesting on rooftops brings unique challenges to the birds. On this particular morning, an American Oystercatcher chick strayed too close to the roof’s edge… and fell off.
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