Nest Monitoring

During the nesting season (normally from April to January), STCB staff and trained volunteers patrol the beaches most used by turtles, recording signs of nesting and hatching, as well as monitoring the safety status of nests.

You can join a nest monitoring patrol! Between May and November, we conduct patrols on Klein Bonaire on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We leave at 7:30am and the patrol usually takes 3-5 hours. We walk along the 2km long beach, looking for new and hatched nests. Tickets are $40 per person ($20 for Bonaire residents and children under 12). We recommend wearing sandals or dive boots (no flip flops) and to bring water. Please send us an e-mail to make a reservation.

STCB Nest Counter

Nesting season 2021 started in May.

Number of nests on Bonaire


Number of nests on Klein Bonaire


Total number of nests


Nesting and Hatching on Bonaire

  • nesting-season

    Bonaire’s beaches receive an annual average of 75 nests. How do we know that it’s important to protect these nests in the interests of sea turtle survival? We know because detailed counts reveal that large nesting colonies are rare. For example, only 0.4% of all known species-specific nesting sites in the Wider Caribbean Region receive more than 1000 hawksbill crawls per year. On the 1,311 known nesting beaches in the region, roughly half support fewer than 25 nest crawls per year. These counts provide an important perspective. It turns out that protection of the many small nesting colonies is critical if we are to maintain hatchling production and genetic diversity.

  • nest-inspection

    The research yields important information over time about population status. By comparing nesting data from year to year, we gradually see trends emerge. Because annual variation in nesting activity is normal in marine turtles, only data collected long-term (more than 10 years) will be truly indicative of how healthy these nesting turtle populations are.

    In an effort to understand how nest temperature is affecting the ratio of male to female hatchlings on Klein Bonaire, Playa Chikitu and on beaches in the south of Bonaire, STCB is participating in a pilot study initiated by IAC and is using temperature dataloggers, deployed at nest depth, to monitor sand temperature in 2021-2023.

  • Trapped-hatchling

    This interesting study is based on our knowledge that for sea turtles, sex is not determined at fertilization. Instead, temperature plays an important role: eggs in warmer nests tend to develop into females, and cooler nests produce more males.

    This study may give us insights not only into the relative numbers of males and females produced on Bonaire, but also into the long-term effects of climate change.

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