Bird Island was privately owned prior to 2002. The shoreline, dunes, and marshland of Bird Island provide important habitat and nesting for species that are endangered, threatened, or of special concern, including the Kemp’s Ridley and Loggerhead sea turtles. Although there was no vehicular access to this land, there was the threat that the land might someday be developed. The state of North Carolina used $4.2 million of public and private funding to purchase the land and create a coastal reserve, administered by the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management. Bird Island is just a few miles away from Sunset Beach, NC.