Ventura County is home to two species of endangered birds that nest on our beaches.


Western Snowy Plovers (WSP) occur on our beaches year-round.  In the winter loose flocks gather just above the tide line.  In March they establish breeding territories and nest through September.  The California Least Terns (CLT) arrive in April and nest in colonies on beaches near lagoons, estuaries or harbors.  After nesting they take flight to somewhere off the coast of Brazil to spend the winter.


Both species place their nests right on the sand in a shallow depression called a scrape. Their cryptically colored eggs blend in with the sand to avoid being seen by predators, hence they are very difficult for people to see. Chicks hatch covered in downy feathers and are flightless for several weeks, relying on their parents for protection and warmth. Soon after the chicks hatch they leave the nest and began to wander about the beach.

There are two beaches in Ventura County that do not have an entity (such as CA State Parks or US Navy) responsible for endangered species recovery.  Ventura Audubon Society therefore has developed a Shorebird Recovery Program for Ormond and Hollywood Beaches where both WSP and CLT nest.

Shorebird Recovery Program Overview

Our shorebird recovery program on Ormond and Hollywood beaches entails

  • Science: nest monitoring, nest sight selection research

  • Habitat protection: fencing nesting areas, signage predator exclosures on at-risk snowy plover nests

  • Outreach: volunteer naturalist program, field trips, school outreach including Audubon Adventures and Share the Shore programs, Beaches Are Habitat program

If you'd like to support our program, we welcome your donation via the “Donation” link on our website. Specify “Shorebird Recovery Program” if you would like to directly support our California Least Tern and Western Snowy Plover efforts on Ventura County Beaches.


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Ventura Audubon Society

P.O. Box 24198

Ventura, California 93002