Black Skimmers start nesting on Lido Beach in April. Year-round, the birds skim the water with their elongated lower mandibles, snapping shut on surface-swimming prey. No other bird feeds like this, dipping bill in flight to cut a thin surface line a hundred yards running.
Their bulky snouts are tangerine-toned turning to black at the point. They are different from, but surely related to the gulls and terns you’ll see in their company. But unlike gulls and terns, when skimmers gather, some rest their heavy bills on the sand, appearing exhausted as they must be.
Their nests are slight shallows in the sand, and both sexes sit on the eggs for three weeks, then five weeks to the fledging after hatch. The local Audubon ropes the nursery area and stations a volunteer to warn the bird-unaware and fend the bird-averse. The era of harvesting eggs and selling feathers is past, so instead of single-minded poachers, their greatest enemies now are beach joggers.