Letters From Home
Photo credit: Mdf
The piping plover is a small grey colored bird with orange legs, a black stripe across the forehead, eye to eye, and a black ring around the neck. During breeding season this neck ring is typically wider in males and is the primary means of sexing the birds. These small seabirds both nest and feed along coastal areas including both rocky and sandy shorelines. Their diets consist mainly of small insects and crustaceans.
Initially in the 1800s and early 1900s, piping plovers were hunted for their feathers (also known as plumes) for hat decoration, which caused population decline. Today, populations continue to decline primarily due to loss of habitat from human interference near nesting sites, loss of shoreline habitat, and human development. As a conservation measure, nesting sites have been fenced off to ensure that these endangered birds have a fighting chance. It is paramount that we protect the piping plover's habitat, not only to protect them but also to protect the various other species occupying similar habitats. We should consider ourselves privileged to have such a beautiful bird come back to our beaches to nest annually. The power to ensure the survival of these truly unique birds is in our hands; Think Global, Act Local.
- Contact local conservation organizations like Save the Bay or the US Fish and Wildlife Service to see how you can help participate in piping plover and other local wildlife conservation projects.
- Help ensure a clean and safe environment for our feathery friends. Next time you are at the beach, pick up 5 pieces of trash or, even better, organize a beach clean up with friends.
- If you notice any interference on protected piping plover breeding areas, make sure you contact your local authorities.