Alabama Sea Turtle Nesting Season Facts

TurtleEggs-Nesting Stats Pic

In May of each year, female sea turtles make their way onto the beaches of the Alabama Gulf Coast to lay their eggs. The turtles lay an average of 110 eggs per nest with an incubation period of 55 to 70 days.

Share the Beach volunteers monitor several areas of Alabama’s coastline, devoting their time to searching for new nests, marking them and protecting the nests and hatchlings from natural and human-related dangers. From 2003 to 2013, more than an estimated 40,000+ hatchlings have safely entered the Gulf of Mexico from Alabama’s beaches.

Alabama Sea Turtle Year in Review

2015

In 2015, 114 sea turtle nests (109 loggerhead nests, and 5 of undetermined species) and 65 false crawls were documented on Alabama beaches. There were 8 false crawls that were later determined to be nests. Thus the final count was 114 nests and 57 false crawls. The first nest was documented on May 15th, 2015 and the last nest on August 17th, 2015. The average incubation period was 57.9 days and the average clutch size was 105 eggs. Data gathered indicate that 11,873 eggs were laid on the beach, yielding 8,006 viable hatchlings of which 7,883 hatchlings made it to the Gulf of Mexico. Once again disorientations from lights in condos and houses along with manmade hazards contribute to false crawls and hatchling survivability.

2014

The Loggerhead and Kemps Ridley sea turtle females produced a total of 80 nests during the 2014 season. Even though 7 of those nests were infertile and 3 other nests were lost to storms, the remaining 70 nests produced 6,666 hatchlings that successfully found their way to the Gulf of Mexico waters. The survival rate of 75.22% is the best survival rate since the 2010 BP oil spill. Once again there were many threats on our beaches to the survival of these little hatchlings. Along with the natural hazards of depredation by ghost crabs, foxes and coyotes and loss to summer tropical storms and high tides, there were too many man made (and avoidable) hazards. Among these were: beach chairs, tents, umbrellas and other beach equipment blocking the nesting females, disorientations of both nesting females and hatchlings from artificial lighting on the beach, and – worst of all – human vandalism. The last nest hatched on October 23rd, 2014.

2013

Share the Beach reported a successful season in 2013, with 81 nests found on the Alabama Gulf Coast. While there were eight nests lost to heavy thunderstorms and high tides, the remaining 70 nests produced 4,939 hatchlings and of those, 4,857 were released into the Gulf of Mexico. The survival of hatchlings (number to water/number of eggs) is estimated to be 62.92 percent. Threats to nesting included the inundation to nests by thunderstorms and the resulting high tides, beach cleaning, public-use disturbance to turtle crawls, vandalism, artificial lighting disorientation and obstructions to nesting females. The last nest of 2013 was successfully hatched on Oct. 29.

2012

Female sea turtles laid a record-breaking 149 nests with at least 13,300 eggs accounted for in 2012. Even with a tropical storm and a hurricane off the coast during hatching season, volunteers saw more than 7,200 new hatchlings safely to the gulf’s surf.

2011

A total of 84 nests were accounted for on the Alabama Gulf Coast, making 2011 a banner year for Alabama’s endangered sea turtles. More than a dozen loggerheads were fitted with transmitting tracking devices by a Share the Beach team authorized by the U.S. Geological Survey. Tropical Storm Lee caused the destruction of several nests, but still more than 3,800 hatchlings made their way to the gulf.

2010

Share the Beach volunteers worked extra hard during the 2010 nesting season to protect hatchlings and their nests during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill event. Oil began leaking into the Gulf of Mexico approximately 50 miles south of Louisiana. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service developed new criteria for monitoring sea turtle nests. Turtle nest surveys were conducted in front of nighttime cleanup crews when oil began coming ashore in Alabama. Forty-one loggerhead nests and two Kemp’s ridley nests were located. As hatching neared, the USFWS determined it was too dangerous for the hatchlings to be released into the gulf until more oil cleanup had taken place. As the nests matured, 16 were transported to Cape Canaveral, Fla. via FedEx with an estimated 1,261 hatchlings released into the Atlantic Ocean. Three nests were released off the Florida Panhandle and 24 were allowed to hatch on Alabama’s beaches. Approximately 1,365 hatchlings entered the Gulf of Mexico.

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How Are They Doing? Seasonal Statistics

The patrol season starts May 1, 2015 and continues till August 31, 2015. Statistical data from individual nests will be added as information is entered into our database.

Alabama Point - I


Dauphin Island - J
IDDate Found# Eggs1st Emergence# To Water# HatchedSurvival %
2016 J-1 05/25/2016 128 07/15/2016 120 120 93.75
2016 J-2 05/28/2016 88
2016 J-3 05/28/2016 119 08/14/2016 0 0 0.00
2016 J-4 05/31/2016 96 08/14/2016 4 5 4.17
2016 J-5 06/04/2016 77 07/28/2016 73 73 94.81
2016 J-6 06/08/2016
2016 J-7 06/10/2016
2016 J-8 06/13/2016 93 07/30/2016 64 64 68.82
2016 J-9 06/20/2016
2016 J-10 06/22/2016
2016 J-11 06/23/2016 93 08/07/2016 82 84 88.17
2016 J-12 06/24/2016
2016 J-13 06/24/2016
2016 J-14 06/25/2016
2016 J-15 06/25/2016
2016 J-16 06/27/2016
2016 J-17 06/29/2016
2016 J-18 07/01/2016
2016 J-19 07/02/2016
2016 J-20 07/06/2016
2016 J-21 07/06/2016
2016 J-22 07/09/2016
2016 J-23 07/09/2016
2016 J-24 07/11/2016
2016 J-25 07/12/2016
2016 J-26 07/19/2016
2016 J-27 07/21/2016
2016 J-28 07/24/2016
2016 J-29 07/25/2016
2016 J30 07/25/2016
2016 J-31 07/27/2016


East Beach - E
IDDate Found# Eggs1st Emergence# To Water# HatchedSurvival %
2016 E-1 06/10/2016 147 07/30/2016 120 120 81.63
2016 E-2 06/20/2016 99 08/15/2016 99 99 100.00
2016 E-3 06/26/2016 122 08/11/2016 113 113 92.62


Fort Morgan - A
IDDate Found# Eggs1st Emergence# To Water# HatchedSurvival %
2016 A-1 05/13/2016 104 07/13/2016 65 64 62.5
2016 A-2 05/25/2016 111 07/21/2016 110 110 99.1
2016 A-3 05/25/2016 107 07/27/2016 89 92 83.18
2016 A-4 05/26/2016 142 07/23/2016 128 127 90.14
2016 A-5 05/26/2016 90 07/23/2016 88 88 97.78
2016 A-6 05/27/2016 106 07/26/2016 101 101 95.28
2016 A-7 05/28/2016 125 07/29/2016 76 81 60.8
2016 A-8 05/29/2016 118 07/27/2016 104 104 88.14
2016 A-9 06/03/2016 96 08/01/2016 6 7 6.25
2016 A-10 06/03/2016 85 0 0 0
2016 A-11 06/04/2016 137 07/31/2016 27 27 19.71
2016 A-12 06/05/2016 82 07/30/2016 80 80 97.56
2016 A-13 06/06/2016 111 0 0 0
2016 A-14 06/04/2016 133 07/31/2016 13 13 9.77
2016 A-15 06/07/2016 95 08/04/2016 85 85 90.43
2016 A-16 06/05/2016
2016 A-17 06/06/2016
2016 A-18 06/08/2016 86 08/05/2016 75 75 87.21
2016 A-19 06/09/2016 106 08/07/2016 103 103 97.17
2016 A-20 06/09/2016 94 08/08/2016 90 90 95.74
2016 A-21 06/09/2016 134 08/05/2016 95 96 70.9
2016 A-22 06/10/2016 114 08/02/2016 109 109 95.61
2016 A-23 06/11/2016 82 08/06/2016 80 80 97.56
2016 A-24 06/13/2016 128 08/07/2016 101 102 78.91
2016 A-25 06/13/2016 93 08/09/2016 89 89 95.7
2016 A-26 06/14/2016 114 08/08/2016 108 108 94.74
2016 A-27 06/14/2016 107 08/07/2016 105 98 98.13
2016 A-28 06/14/2016 94 08/05/2016 93 93 98.94
2016 A-29 06/14/2016 90 08/07/2016 88 88 97.73
2016 A-30 06/14/2016 80 08/08/2016 68 67 85
2016 A-31 06/14/2016 91 08/07/2016 83 84 91.21
2016 A-32 06/15/2016 102 08/09/2016 96 98 94.12
2016 A-33 06/17/2016 100 08/15/2016 94 94 94
2016 A-34 06/17/2016 125 08/10/2016 122 122 97.6
2016 A-35 06/19/2016 102 08/15/2016 100 100 98.04
2016 A36 06/19/2016 83 08/16/2016 77 78 92.77
2016 A37 06/20/2016 139 08/09/2016 131 130 94.24
2016 A-38 06/21/2016 117 08/09/2016 98 102 83.76
2016 A-39 06/21/2016 96 08/15/2016 92 92 93.75
2016 A-40 06/21/2016 96 08/16/2016 85 85 88.54
2016 A-41 06/28/2016 103 08/20/2016 99 100 96.12
2016 A-42 06/28/2016 110 08/23/2016 103 103 93.64
2016 A-43 06/22/2016 65 08/17/2016 58 58 89.23
2016 A-44 07/01/2016 89 08/23/2016 84 83 94.38
2016 A-45 07/01/2016 97 08/24/2016 95 95 97.94
2016 A-46 07/01/2016 110 08/23/2016 89 89 80.91
2016 A-47 06/27/2016 119 08/18/2016 113 113 94.12
2016 A-48 06/28/2016 101 08/25/2016 94 94 91.09
2016 A-49 07/03/2016 131 08/31/2016 107 118 81.68
2016 A-50 07/03/2016 102 08/31/2016 99 99 97.06
2016 A-51 07/04/2016 84 0 0 0
2016 A-52 07/05/2016 128 08/31/2016 109 126 85.16
2016 A-53 07/06/2016 75 4 56 5.33
2016 A-54 07/07/2016 96 4 93 4.17
2016 A-55 07/07/2016 87 86 86 97.7
2016 A-56 07/11/2016 78 0 49 0
2016 A-57 07/09/2016 130 130 130 100
2016 A-58 07/12/2016 95 0 23 0
2016 A-59 07/13/2016 111 09/04/2016 104 106 93.69
2016 A-60 07/14/2016 96 0 0 0
2016 A-61 07/17/2016 93 0 0 0
2016 A-62 07/17/2016 130 0 0 0
2016 A-63 07/19/2016 88 09/14/2016 81 81 90.91
2016 A-64 07/20/2016 87 09/13/2016 84 84 96.55
2016 A-65 07/20/2016 102 09/17/2016 1 1 0.98
2016 A-66 07/20/2016
2016 A-67 07/21/2016
2016 A-68 05/14/2016 121 07/18/2016 118 117 96.69
2016 A-69 07/26/2016
2016 A-70 07/31/2016 100 09/29/2016 94 94 94
2016 A-71 08/02/2016 117
2016 A-72 08/02/2016 70
2016 A-73 05/30/2016 104 07/27/2016 100 100 100
2016 A-74 07/27/2016
2016 A-75 07/27/2016
2016 A-76 07/28/2016
2016 A-77 07/31/2016
2016 A-78 08/01/2016
2016 A-79 07/25/2016
2016 A-80 08/02/2016
2016 A-81 08/05/2016
2016 A-82 08/04/2016
2016 A-83 08/05/2016 97
2016 A-84 08/06/2016
2016 A-85 08/07/2016
2016 A-86 08/14/2016
2016 A-87 08/15/2016
2016 A-88 06/24/2016 131 08/17/2016 130 130 99.24
2016 A-89 06/24/2016 101 08/17/2016 94 94 90.1


Gulf State Park - G
IDDate Found# Eggs1st Emergence# To Water# HatchedSurvival %
2016 G-1 05/27/2016 92 08/04/2016 4 4 4.35
2016 G-2 05/30/2016 93 08/12/2016 0 0 0.00
2016 G-3 06/08/2016 91 08/09/2016 88 88 96.70
2016 G-4 06/12/2016 103 08/16/2016 101 102 98.06
2016 G-5 06/23/2016 124 08/19/2016 121 121 97.58
2016 G-6 06/26/2016 92 08/20/2016 76 76 82.61
2016 G-7 06/29/2016
2016 G-8 07/06/2016 97 09/04/2016 95 95 97.94
2016 G-9 07/08/2016 70 0 2 0.00
2016 G-10 07/08/2016 112 09/01/2016 105 108 93.75
2016 G-11 07/20/2016 65 0 0 0.00
2016 G-12 07/21/2016 112 0 0 0.00
2016 G-13 07/22/2016 113 0 0 0.00
2016 G-14 07/28/2016 93 09/26/2016 85 86 91.40
2016 G-15 08/02/2016 104
2016 G-16 08/08/2016 100 10/08/2016


Laguna Key - B
IDDate Found# Eggs1st Emergence# To Water# HatchedSurvival %
2016 B-1 05/17/2016 130 07/19/2016 127 127 97.69
2016 B-2 05/28/2016 105 07/26/2016 100 100 95.24
2016 B-3 05/29/2016 97 07/25/2016 57 57 58.76
2016 B-4 06/01/2016 104 07/26/2016 86 88 82.69
2016 B-5 06/01/2016 113 07/31/2016 1 1 00.88
2016 B-6 06/02/2016 96 08/02/2016 6 6 6.25
2016 B-7 06/02/2016 137 0 0 0.00
2016 B-8 06/04/2016 111 08/03/2016 31 31 27.93
2016 B-9 06/04/2016 105 07/26/2016 92 86 87.62
2016 B-10 06/06/2016 116 07/28/2016 60 112 51.72
2016 B-11 06/12/2016 107 08/06/2016 58 58 54.20
2016 B-12 06/14/2016 128 08/03/2016 105 101 82.03
2016 B-13 06/15/2016 112 08/07/2016 110 110 98.21
2016 B-14 06/15/2016 125 08/08/2016 118 119 94.40
2016 B-15 06/17/2016 94 08/09/2016 94 94 100
2016 B-16 06/22/2016 100 08/16/2016 97 97 97.00
2016 B-17 06/23/2016 58 08/17/2016 55 55 94.83
2016 B-18 06/28/2016 123 08/19/2016 97 94 78.86
2016 B-19 06/28/2016 75 08/25/2016 59 59 78.67
2016 B-20 07/03/2016 101 08/26/2016 96 96 93.07
2016 B-21 07/08/2016 73 08/31/2016 12 73 16.44
2016 B-22 07/08/2016 106 08/28/2016 104 102 98.11
2016 B-23 07/09/2016 110 08/27/2016 96 95 87.27
2016 B-24 07/09/2016 82 08/31/2016 77 77 93.90
2016 B-25 07/12/2016 97 09/01/2016 86 87 88.66
2016 B-26 07/13/2016 114 09/05/2016 110 110 96.49
2016 B-27 07/15/2016 100 0 0 0.00
2016 B-28 07/19/2016 73 7 7 9.59
2016 B-29 07/19/2016 128 0 0 0.00
2016 B-30 07/22/2016 6 0 0 0.00
2016 B-31 07/22/2016 108 09/20/2016 16 18 14.81
2016 B-32 07/23/2016 65 09/16/2016 64 64 98.46
2016 B-33 07/29/2016 89 0 0 0.00
2016 B-34 07/30/2016 76 09/25/2016 74 74 97.37
2016 B-35 07/31/2016 104 0 0 0.00
2016 B-36 08/20/2016 64 10/21/2016 60 60 93.75
2016 B-37 07/06/2016 73 08/31/2016 70 70 95.89


Orange Beach - H
IDDate Found# Eggs1st Emergence# To Water# HatchedSurvival %
2016 H-1 05/26/2016 127 07/26/2016 116 118 91.34
2016 H-2 06/01/2016 67 08/01/2016 62 62 92.54
2016 H-3 06/02/2016 101 08/06/2016 91 92 90.10
2016 H-4 06/04/2016 90 07/312016 81 81 90.00
2016 H-5 06/14/2016 104 08/10/2016 99 99 95.19
2016 H-6 06/17/2016 121 08/12/2016 106 106 87.60
2016 H-7 06/21/2016 101 08/14/2016 95 95 94.06
2016 H-8 06/22/2016 95 08/19/2016 92 92 96.84
2016 H-9 06/25/2016 94 08/20/2016 89 89 94.68
2016 H-10 06/25/2016 114 08/20/2016 111 111 97.37
2016 H-11 06/25/2016 92 08/19/2016 90 90 97.83
2016 H-12 06/26/2016 87 08/24/2016 69 69 79.31
2016 H-13 06/26/2016 89 08/21/2016 89 89 100.00
2016 H-14 06/27/2016 102 08/23/2016 91 93 89.22
2016 H-15 07/02/2016 127 08/27/2016 121 122 95.28
2016 H-16 07/05/2016 136 08/28/2016 132 132 97.06
2016 H-17 07/05/2016 110 08/28/2016 92 92 83.64
2016 H-18 07/05/2016 123 09/01/2016 121 121 98.37
2016 H-19 07/07/2016 123 08/30/2016 117 117 95.12
2016 H-20 07/09/2016 98 09/01/2016 92 92 93.88
2016 H-21 07/13/2016 103 09/07/2016 83 83 80.58
2016 H-22 07/18/2016 141 0 0 0.00
2016 H-23 07/23/2016 142 09/17/2016 132 132 92.96
2016 H-24 07/27/2016 114 09/26/2016 60 60 52.36
2016 H-25 07/29/2016 122 09/26/2016 75 75 61.48
2016 H-26 08/16/2016 111 10/20/2016 99 99 89.19


West Beach II - C
IDDate Found# Eggs1st Emergence# To Water# HatchedSurvival %
2016 C-1 06/05/2016 82 07/31/2016 79 79 96.34
2016 C-2 06/14/2016 104
2016 C-3 06/15/2016 101 08/07/2016 96 96 95.05
2016 C-4 06/21/2016 129 08/16/2016 122 122 94.57
2016 C-5 06/30/2016
2016 C-6 07/06/2016 84 0 0 0.00
2016 C-7 07/30/2016
2016 C-8 08/01/2016