Don’t let your dogs chase the birds on our beaches


By on Thu, October 22, 2009

The Chronicle’s website recently published the following letter form Coastsider Barbara Kossy about the effects of dogs chasing birds on our beaches:

As a dog lover and wild bird lover, I’m amazed at how dog owners allow and encourage their dogs to chase wild shorebirds.

It’s a growing, daily problem here on the Coastside. Dog owners from throughout the Bay Area come to the Coastside to let their dogs play and run on the beaches. Many dogs chase and flush birds. This is lots of fun for everyone, except the wild birds who need to feed on the beaches.

Fall migration is just beginning and shorebirds and ducks are stopping on our beaches to rest and eat before continuing on to wintering grounds hundreds and even thousands of miles away. Some species spend the winter right here in the Bay Area.

Perhaps dog owners could take a moment to imagine getting to northern Alaska on their own power, walking, or swimming, or kayaking—twice a year—then they may be able to appreciate why dogs should be kept away from birds. Would they like to be chased by a huge predator (think Tyrannosaurus Rex) every time they tried to sit down and get a bite to eat? Migration requires a huge energy output, and these birds don’t have energy to spare. "Many dog owners simply don’t realize the harm caused by a brief chase. After all, the bird flies away. But they also don’t realize that the chase takes the bird away from the important business of feeding, and resting, and may literally sink the bird already stressed by fatigue.

Could you please remind dog owners to protect the wild birds that live on our beaches?