Monday, October 25, 2021

Meet the Banded Birds of Marco Island

Biologists across the world tag thousands of birds each year with unique leg bands, giving identities to individual birds. Sightings of these banded birds help answer questions about bird movements, lifespans, and survival. In Marco Island, you can find banded birds that live here year-round, and “snowbirds” that only visit for the winter. Here, we share the story of one banded bird found in Marco Island.

Meet Black Skimmer Green E18

E18 was banded as a chick at the nesting colony on Marco on August 2, 2018. Black Skimmers can be found year-round on Marco, breeding on Big Marco Pass Critical Wildlife Area during the summer and often resting on the beach in front of the Marriott throughout the winter. Black Skimmers nest along the Gulf Coast and as far north as Massachusetts along the Atlantic Coast. Our Florida winter flocks often contain birds from Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and the Carolinas.

Notice that the knife-like lower mandible of the Black Skimmer is longer than the upper mandible. It is the only bird in the world with this adaptation and is where the Black Skimmer gets its name. The skimmer uses the lower mandible to skim the surface of the water to capture small fish.

Adam DiNuovo is the Lee/Collier Shorebird Program Manager and has been working with seabirds and shorebirds from coast to coast for 20 years. He also manages the beach stewardship program which sends volunteers out each weekend during the breeding season to educate beach goers about Marco’s beach nesting birds. If you would like to volunteer, please email

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