Port Tampa Bay plays hosts to thousands of migratory birds during nesting season

- Port Tampa Bay encourages recreational boaters to be respectful and aware of wildlife during the 2020 nesting season for migratory birds. Globally significant populations of migratory birds make the port’s two dredge material management areas and spoil islands their summer home in Hillsborough Bay. Both dredge islands are under the oversight of the Migratory Bird Protection Interagency Committee.  The official nesting season runs from April 1 through August 31 and represents a cooperative effort between Port Tampa Bay, Audubon Florida, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and other local, state, and federal agencies.

The islands provide a protected nesting habitat for rare species including American Oystercatchers and Least Terns to complete their reproductive cycle. Each year, the islands become one of the bay area’s prime nesting sites, hosting thousands of nesting migratory birds. In past years, the nesting population of oystercatchers on the dredge disposal islands was the largest in the state, according to surveys conducted by Audubon and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Oystercatchers remain one of Florida’s rarest species, with less than 225 breeding pairs in Florida. 

“Port Tampa Bay is committed to being a leader in environmental and sustainability efforts in our community. The port has a deep commitment to uphold and protect the health and vitality of the waters around Tampa Bay and the native species that thrive there,” explained Paul Anderson, Port Tampa Bay President and CEO.

Migratory birds routinely visit the Tampa Bay area to nest.