ATLANTA (AP) -- Beachgoers are being cautioned to avoid trampling on sensitive nesting bird habitat along Georgia's shoreline.
The Department of Natural Resources says popular springtime beach destinations such as Little Tybee Island, Pelican Spit, Cumberland Island and Jekyll Island are important nesting habitat for birds.
Those include American oystercatchers, Wilson's plovers and least terns.
Beach-nesting birds typically nest above the high-tide line and lay eggs in shallow sand from April through July.
If humans or their pets disturb these areas, adult birds will abandon their nests, exposing the chicks to high heat and predators.
DNR biologist Tim Keyes recommends that beach visitors avoid marked nesting sites, walk below the high-tide line and watch the birds from a distance.