Every March as the winter season starts to wind down and the snow birds start heading back up north we welcome a very different visitor to our beaches in the Fort Lauderdale area. Several species of sea turtles come to South Florida every year to nest and if you’ve spent any time on our beaches during the summer you have certainly seen areas on the beach fenced off to warn us of these very vulnerable nesting zones.
The Leatherbacks are the first to arrive in March, followed by our most common species the Loggerhead Turtle which joins us in April. The Green Turtles, which made an astounding comeback in 2013, start arriving in May and June. Ridley and Hawksbill turtles also visit our beaches in smaller numbers. The nesting season continues through the end of the September with peak season for Loggerheads being late June, early July.
FACT: Loggerhead Sea Turtles are the most common to nest in South Florida with almost 20,000 nests counted during the 2013 season between Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
Fun Tip: If you want to learn more about sea turtle nesting season you need to visit the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton. Located in the heart of Florida’s sea turtle nesting zone, Gumbo Limbo monitors more than 600 nests a year and releases over 6,000 stranded hatchlings each season.
Other Links and Resources:
Adopt a sea turtle and learn more about local conservation efforts at the National Save the Turtle Foundation in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.
Learn more about sea turtles at Wikipedia:
Broward County Natural Resources Planning and Management: