Piping Plovers and the Public

Mrs. Plover, on her nest, safe inside her exclosure, I hope.

Mrs. Plover, on her nest, safe inside her exclosure, I hope.

I spent last Saturday morning helping out the volunteers of the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds during Op Sail at Harkness Memorial Park in Waterford, Connecticut, where thousands of people were expected to throng the beach to view the parade of tall ships.  My task was to try and keep people from roaming the area of the beach which has been roped off to protect nest areas used by the federally and state threatened Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus).   These small migratory shorebirds have been nesting on our shoreline for thousands of years but their numbers have declined dramatically due to human real estate development and roaming predators such as unleashed dogs, cats, gulls, rats and raccoons.  The nest sites are protected by wire fencing called exclosures.  I found people to be largely understanding of the Plover’s situation and interested in the literature I gave them about the Plovers.  There was still one active nest.  Mrs. Plover’s first nest was destroyed and the eggs eaten by an unleased dog.  Her second nest failed when we had torrential rains and the nest was washed away.  She is now on her third attempt and needs about another week before the eggs hatch.  Let’s hope she makes it.

We were lucky in a way that it was foggy and the boats were difficult to see from the park.  Many people left for better viewing spots when that became obvious, so the expected throngs didn’t materialize.  For information about the program and the Plovers, check out this site:  http://ctwaterbirds.blogspot.com/2012/05/piping-plover-chick-foraging.html


UPDATE:  On July 23rd Mrs. Plover hatched five chicks.  Mom and children are doing well!


6 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Carla said,

    Piping Plovers are so darned cute! And I’m not surprised that people are receptive to blocking off these areas when they are presented with friendly facts. Way to go, Kathy!



  2. 3

    […] nesting locations of those shorebirds that nest here such as the Piping Plover and Least Tern (see post from last summer on this) which are threatened species in Connecticut and the Roseate Tern which is […]


  3. 4

    Lori said,

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  4. 5

    I wrote about the Piping Plovers last summer.  To see that post and for more on these birds click here.  They are State and Federally listed as “threatened.”  We will return next week to […]


  5. 6

    Hey there just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you
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