Turtle nesting season runs from May 1 until October 31. During that time we patrol the beaches daily to look for turtle crawls. Turtle crawls are unique patterns left in the sand by turtles when they come out of the ocean and onto the beach (see image to the right). When we find a fresh crawl, we determine whether a nest has been laid or if it is a false crawl (non-nesting emergence). If a nest was laid, we use four stakes with colored survey ribbon to cordon off the area. A unique identification number, the date the crawl was found, and the initials of the volunteers who found the nest are written on one of the stakes. A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) sign which states that it is illegal to disturb the nest is attached to another. We also complete a nesting report and plot the crawl on an aerial photo. After the nest hatches, we do a nest evaluation to determine and record its success.
Did You Know?
Different survey ribbon colors mean something. The color of the ribbon around the nest denotes the month in which the nest was laid. Nests laid in May have pink ribbon, June has blue, July has orange, August has green, and September returns to pink again.