10 Times Plovers Made My Day

Photo: Kimberley Caruso/Audubon Photography Awards

When I first spot them on the beach, it means spring is right around the corner!

Camouflaged Piping Plover. Photo: Deborah Smith/Audubon Photography Awards

Even if I don’t see them, I know they’re there! With well-camouflaged feathers, nests, and eggs, plovers become almost invisible in the sand.

Piping Plover. Photo: William Pully/Audubon Photography Awards

When I catch them eating noodles of the sea.

Piping Plover. Photo: Lorraine Minns/Audubon Photography Awards

When I found out they don’t have a hind toe.

Piping Plover with chick. Photo: Melissa Groo//Audubon Photography Awards

When I remember that a chick weighs less than a single scoop of ice cream.

Our trained conservation staff snapped this photo while conducting a nest search, which is required to locate and protect nests and track Piping Plover productivity. The nesting areas protected by symbolic fencing are closed to the public and our staff only enter the fencing when absolutely necessary. Photo: Luis Ramos/Audubon

I know they’re resting right on the sand, even if I can’t spot them. So I keep away from fenced areas and keep my pup away from beaches with nesting birds, to prevent any accidents from happening.

Piping Plover and chicks. Photo: Kimberley Caruso/Audubon Photography Awards

When I see a father taking over chick care so that mom can focus on rebuilding strength for their long migration south.

Piping Plover with chicks. Newly hatched chicks can’t regulate their body temperature, so they rely on their parents to keep them from overheating or getting too cold. Photo: Sandy Selesky/Audubon Photography Awards

Every time I think about how much they love their family.

If predators or high tides destroy their nests, plovers are likely to try again. In fact, one plover in Massachusetts tried to nest five times laying a total of 19 eggs over the course of one summer!

Piping Plover. Photo: Mery Llorenzo/Audubon Photography Awards

When I think about all they’ve been through, and how much they’ve overcome. After years of increased protection and habitat restoration, Piping Plovers are finally recovering from near-extinction throughout North America, but they still need our help. It’s up to us to #ShareTheShore!


Want More Fun Facts About Plovers?

  • Piping Plovers are hard-working, fearless parents. They will feign a broken wing to draw attention to itself and away from its nest or chicks.
  • Male and female Piping Plovers take turns incubating their eggs.
  • Newly hatched Piping Plover chicks only weigh ~6 grams but they can double in size in just one week!
  • Plover chicks find food for themselves, so they have to travel down to the wrack line and the ocean’s edge in search for small marine invertebrates to eat.
  • Did you know that Piping Plover chicks are precocial? That means they hatch well-developed with downy feathers and they can feed themselves soon after hatching. These independent yet vulnerable little birds still depend on their parents to keep them safe from predators and disturbances on the beach.
  • Piping Plover chicks can walk and forage within a few hours of hatching, and once they leave their nest they usually don’t go back!
  • Despite their small size, Piping Plover chicks are highly mobile. That means that from May through August, the entire beach serves as a nursery for flightless plover chicks, which walk around on the beach in search of food and a safe place to rest away from predators and disturbance.

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