Beach volleyball kills unhatched birds on Alabama island

Mobile County
Gulf Oil Spill_1533638282678

** RETRANSMISSION FOR IMPROVED TONE QUALITY ** A least tern checks her two eggs on the beach in Gulfport, Miss., Saturday, May 1, 2010. Environmentalists are concerned that the approaching oil slick will destroy this generation of the bird that nests along the Gulf coast beaches as part of it’s migratory journey. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

SAND ISLAND, Ala. (AP) – Birmingham Audubon says beach volleyball players on a small island off Alabama probably killed hundreds of birds still in their eggs, some by moving eggs to make room for their volleyball court and some by scaring parent birds from their nests.
    
Biologist Katie Barnes tells AL.com that Audubon quickly put up ropes and signs to tell people about the rookery on Sand Island. Since then, she says, the least terns and black skimmers nesting there have been left alone.
    
The damage was discovered over the Fourth of July weekend by Andrew Haffenden, who was conducting a bird survey for Birmingham Audubon.
    
He says beach-nesting shorebirds sit on their eggs to keep them cool, and eggs without that protection would have baked to death in the hot summer sun.

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