Tony Beck - Photography, Nature and Birding Tours, Local Birding Excursions

Plight of the Piping Plover

Piping Plover

Piping Plover

Everyone loves the beach. How can we resist soft sand between our toes, the tranquil sound of rolling waves, beautiful tanned bodies laying on blankets soaking the sun, and cool surf to comfort us from the heat? For us humans, the beach is an extremely popular playground, especially during hot summer days.
But, for the tiny Piping Plover, the beach is a matter of survival. It’s the only place where it can make a nest, raise its young and find food. Without sandy beaches, the Piping Plover can’t exist.
Unfortunately, there are more humans on beaches these days than Piping Plovers. People love the beach so much they use them to walk their dogs, drive their recreational vehicles, play their sports, and have their parties. How can the tiny Piping Plover compete with that?
Fortunately, conservation efforts effectively protect these sweet little birds. Cages are placed over nests to protect them from all types of problems like foxes, gulls, wandering family pets, all-terrain vehicles, dirt-bikes and thoughtless humans while allowing free-passage for the parents to come & go from the nest. A brightly marked barrier of flags and cord is also set up to give the nest further protective space. Although costly, these efforts have proven to be successful. On the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, an extremely busy summer playground lined with perfect beaches, and a stronghold of the Piping Plover, their numbers remain reasonably stable. Breeding pair numbers fluctuate from 35 to 53, with success rates reaching as much as 78%.
The sad news is that funding for these efforts is drying up quickly. Economic struggles continue to place pressure on various funding agents, while our appetite for recreational use of beaches increases. To further aggravate the problem, a significant percentage of the human population couldn’t care less about the future of the tiny little Piping Plover.
Without funding, protection efforts and awareness programs will be significantly minimized.
The future of the beach-loving Piping Plover is becoming increasingly uncertain.

Protected Piping Plover Nest Site

Protected Piping Plover Nest Site

Piping Plover on a nest

Piping Plover on a nest

adult Piping Plover protecting its young under its wing

adult Piping Plover protecting its young under its wing

4 Comments so far

  1. On June 28, 2011 at 5:55 am

    Beautiful photos, Tony! I did a recent blog on the Piping Plovers in Michigan’s U.P.

    We have habitat on Lake Erie in Conneaut, Ohio that still need to be protected. Hopefully, we can help raise people’s awareness of this bird’s plight.


  2. On July 1, 2011 at 11:52 am

    That’s Excellent Cheryl
    Here in Ontario, Piping Plovers have started nesting on the beaches of Georgian Bay. They’re being monitored and protected by an extensive network of volunteers. This, combined with public awareness, might have a positive long-term effect.
    Good Luck

  3. On July 17, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Hi Tony,

    Wow! You are so busy. This heat.
    I love your blog entry on The Piping Plover.
    May I have permission to use this for the August issue of The Nature Place Journal?
    It may have to be shortened. I can do this or you?
    Get back to me and you get the credit in the journal for your story and photos we use.

    Beat the heat.


  4. On July 17, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Hi Shirley
    Consider this post as my permission for you to use the story in the August issue of The Nature Place Journal.
    Remove text as you wish.
    But, let me review your edit before it gets published.

4 Responses to “Plight of the Piping Plover”

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