ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (FOX 13) - A Largo woman captured a heartbreaking photo at the beach of a skimmer bird offering its chick a cigarette butt and she has a message: "If you smoke, please don't leave your butts behind."
Karen Mason said she captured the photo on June 20 at St. Pete Beach.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, skimmer nesting season goes from May through early September, and they nest on the sand along the beaches.
Mason posted several photos on Facebook showing the skimmer trying to feed its chick a cigarette butt with the caption, "This skimmer chick was offered a cigarette butt by its parent. It's time we cleaned up our beaches and stopped treating them like one giant ash tray."
The post comes after video surfaced of an alligator at a wildlife refuge eating a plastic bag.
While litter along the beaches also hurts wildlife, the Audubon Society also wants to remind everyone that fireworks on the beaches can scare the birds and cause the adults to abandon their nests and chicks. "Even personal fireworks can cause a big disturbance, scaring adults off of their nests and leaving chicks unprotected," the society said.