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A Close Call for bYG

Life isn’t easy on the shore. Shorebirds confront many issues daily: predators, dogs, storms, sea-level rise… They also must deal with the trash that humans leave behind.

bYG was discovered to have fibers wrapped around her toes

Last winter a female that has spent all her winters at Bunche Beach in Lee County, FL got entangled in hair and other fibers. A hair got caught on the toes of both of her feet and began collecting roots and twigs. She wouldn’t last long carrying that load and certainly wouldn’t be able to migrate north to breed.

Audrey removing entangled debris from bYG

Luckily on March 10, 2024, Audrey Albrecht, who has permits and training for trapping shorebirds and works with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation ( was able to trap bYG and remove the fibers cutting into her toes and the debris that she was dragging around, before any permanent damage was done to her feet.

bYG in 2018

This female hatched in 2017 near the south boundary of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and returned farther north in the park to begin nesting in 2018. She was banded at that time with a unique pattern of band colors: light blue and yellow on the lower left and green on the lower right. Since we use the abbreviations b=light blue, Y=yellow and G=Green she became bYG or “Big”. She has nested in the same location every year since then.

On April 17, 2024, bYG arrived safely to her usual nesting territory at Sleeping Bear Dunes, helped along by the strong Southeast winds. It’s good to see her back after her close call in Florida.

Wishing her a successful breeding season.

Update: On April 18th bYG's mate from 2023, Of,YL:X,G, ("YuLG" Y=yellow, L=black, G=green), returned to their territory. They immediately began courting. It looks like they'll likely pair again for 2024.


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