Wisconsin's Plover Population Soars
Wisconsin's piping plover population has boomed in recent years, thanks in part to work by local and federal agencies as well as private landowners and conservationists.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports that the state's piping plover population has more than doubled since 2000, increasing from about 190 nesting pairs to 470 nesting pairs in 2018.
What is responsible for the resurgence of this small shorebird?
"A variety of factors have helped the Wisconsin plover population recover, including concurrent protection on both private and public lands, management activities on behalf of both state and federal agencies, and captive-rearing efforts that have increased the number of birds available to reestablish populations elsewhere," said DNR Secretary-designee Preston Cole.
The DNR credits the success to a variety of factors including: the acquisition and protection of important habitat; predator control efforts; managing disturbance at nests and chicks; beach grooming; restoration work; and coordination between agencies.
In addition to Wisconsin, piping plovers are also found in Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania and Nova Scotia.
Plovers Band Together to Raise Chicks
A plover is a small, sparrow-sized bird that nests on beaches and sandbars. These birds are known for their unique behavioral trait of "forming a huddle" to protect their young from predators.
All around the world, plovers are working together to raise their chicks. In North America, the piping plover is a threatened species. To help protect these birds, volunteers have set up special "plover patrols" to watch over their nests and keep predators away.
In Australia, the fairy tern is also a threatened species. To help save these birds, volunteers have build artificial nesting platforms called "tern rafts". Tern rafts allow terns to nest in safety away from predators, and also provide a place for young terns to learn how to fly and hunt.
In Europe, the Kentish plover is an endangered species. To help save these birds, volunteers have been working hard to create new nesting habitat for them. One innovative project involves installing special "plover pods" near the water's edge. Plover pods are essentially beach umbrellas that provide shelter from the sun and wind, and also keep dogs and other predators away from the nests.
By coming together to protect their young, plovers are showing us that teamwork can make a difference!
Oregon Plovers on the Move
The white-headed plover is a small shorebird that breeds on the open tundra of Alaska. In winter, they migrate to coastal areas in California, Oregon, and Washington. In February 2018, over 500 white-headed plovers were counted at Steller's Bay in southeast Alaska – a new record high count for the species in that state.
In early March 2018, dozens of these plovers were spotted at Yaquina Bay in Newport, Oregon. A few weeks later, more sightings were reported at Siletz Bay and Cape Foulweather. So far this spring, the white-headed plover seems to be favoring coastal areas in Oregon and Washington.
These birds are classified as "sensitive" by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), so it is important to give them plenty of space if you see them near the coast. The best way to see these elusive birds is to look for them from a distance – binoculars or a scope will come in handy!
If you are lucky enough to see some white-headed plovers this spring, be sure to snap a photo and share it with us on social media using #OregonPlovers.
Plovers: The Underdogs of the Bird World
Plovers are a group of birds that are often overlooked. They can be found in many parts of the world, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Despite their commonality, plovers are often misunderstood.
Most people know that plovers are shorebirds, but many don't know that they are actually related to pigeons and doves. Plovers have short legs, which allow them to run quickly on the beach as they search for food. They also have long, pointed wings which give them the ability to fly for long distances.
There are over 20 different species of plover, and each one has its own unique personality and habits. Some plovers are very aggressive when it comes to defending their territory, while others are more timid and prefer to stay away from humans.
When it comes to diet, plovers can be both carnivorous and herbivorous. Some species eat mostly small fish, while others prefer to eat insects or plant matter. Regardless of what they eat, plovers always take care to scavenge for food efficiently so as not to waste any valuable resources.
Plovers live in a wide variety of habitats, from sand dunes and beaches to marshes and riverbanks. They are well-adapted to living in harsh environments, and can tolerate both hot temperatures and cold weather equally well.
Despite their hardiness, plovers are often threatened by human activity. Development projects can lead to loss of habitat, while poachers can kill plovers for their feathers or meat. Climate change is also an increasing threat to this species.
Despite these challenges, plovers still manage to thrive in many parts of the world. They are an important part of the ecosystem, and play a crucial role in keeping our planet healthy. So the next time you see a plover on the beach or in the air, take a moment to appreciate this underappreciated bird!
How to Help Plovers Survive
This time of year, many of us enjoy watching the graceful movements of shorebirds as they forage for food on our beaches and in our wetlands. Among these birds are plovers, a group that includes several species of sandpipers, whose numbers are in decline.
There are several things we can do to help these birds survive and thrive. First, when visiting a beach or other site where plovers are present, be sure to keep your distance and avoid walking in their feeding areas. Also, please leash and clean up after your pets; dogs can scare plovers away from their food sources.
You can also help protect plovers by supporting laws and regulations that protect them and their habitat. In particular, please voice your support for measures that restrict development in coastal areas and promote responsible management of beaches and wetlands.
Thank you for helping to keep our plover friends safe!