Port of Pensacola Warehouse #1 has been officially recognized as a Bird-Friendly Rooftop by Audubon Florida, in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
On May 26, a team of wildlife observers visited the Port of Pensacola and inspected the rooftop for evidence of bird nests, eggs and hatchlings. The designation was bestowed by the team immediately following the inspection because Warehouse #1’s gravel overlay provides an artificial nesting habitat that is similar to the natural sand beach nesting habitat preferred by Least Terns and Black Skimmers. The official recognition states, in part, “this building is providing an undisturbed nursery for these rare species, aiding in the conservation.”
Least Terns are listed as a threatened species by both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission. Black Skimmers are listed as a species of special concern in Florida by the Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission. Both bird species have adapted to nesting on gravel rooftops due to the loss and degradation of their natural colony sites. Nesting on rooftops by the Least Terns was first reported in Pensacola, and has now become widespread throughout the state of Florida. By 1975, 21 percent of Least Terns colonies along Florida's Atlantic coast occurred on roofs. Several studies have shown that roof colonies have higher reproductive success than do nearby beach colonies.
For more information on Audubon Florida, visit fl.audubon.org. For more information about the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, visit myfwc.com.