Port Tampa Bay has announced the 2014 annual migratory bird nesting season in Tampa Bay as part of its long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship. The official bird nesting season is April 1 through August 31, each year. The port authority said it works very closely with its key partner, Audubon Florida, as well as state and federal regulatory conservation agencies in Florida, to provide protection annually for nesting birds and their young in the Hillsborough Bay area.

The port owns and operates two dredge disposal islands in Hillsborough Bay—islands 2D and 3D. Both islands and the Richard T. Paul Alafia Bank Bird Sanctuary, have been recognized collectively by BirdLife International and the National Audubon Society for their global significance as bird nesting areas. Protection of the nesting birds that use these islands has evolved into a shared project.

“Port Tampa Bay has earned a leadership role in the management of one of Florida’s most important sites for beach nesting birds”, commented Ann Paul, Audubon Florida’s regional coordinator.

Islands 2D and 3D and the Alafia Bank Bird Sanctuary are designated as “no trespassing” areas year round, and birds that nest in these areas are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, as well as the Florida Threatened and Endangered Species Act of 1977. Penalties for criminal and civil acts have been established for disturbing or harming migratory birds.