A mile or so South along Gulf Drive on Anna Maria Island is a stretch of beach chosen by The Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) as a nesting site. They lay their eggs in depressions they make in the sand.
It is quite a busy place with constant squawking as adult birds come and go in a constant effort to supply the chicks with small fish.
There are many shore birds who lay their eggs right out in the open. I have even seen small shore birds with eggs right in the middle of railroad tracks.
The chicks seem very vulnerable out on the sand and their first instinct is to hunker down and hide. The parent birds will aggressively defend them if you approach to closely.
There are casualties but they are far outweighed by the numbers that will survive.
This colony has grow over the last few years.
It is a delight to see them on the beach and observe their behavior!