SAND ISLAND, Ala. (AP) — Wildlife officials say beach volleyball players on a small island off Alabama probably killed hundreds of unhatched birds, moving eggs to make room for their playing court and scaring adult birds from nests.

Birmingham Audubon biologist Katie Barnes tells AL.com that officials quickly put up ropes and signs to tell people about the rookery for least terns on Sand Island. Since then, she says, the least terns and black skimmers nesting there have been left alone.

The damage was discovered over the Fourth of July weekend by Andrew Haffenden, who was conducting a bird survey for Birmingham Audubon.

He says beach-nesting shorebirds sit on their eggs to keep them cool, and eggs without that protection would have baked to death in the hot summer sun.

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Information from: The Birmingham News, http://www.al.com/birminghamnews