You may have seen piping plovers scurrying about on the beach. I never seem to have the video camera with me when I see one running back and forth into the waves. As the wave goes out, they run towards it looking for fresh food and then they scurry back to avoid the next wave. I could just sit and watch for hours.
It is easy to recognize a plover by the black ring around its neck. However the piping plover is often confused with the semi-palmated plover shown on the left – Can you see the difference?
If you do see a plover on the beach, be patient and wait for “feeding time.” These little fellas are subject to the whims of nature. Storm Surges often reshape the coast: rocks, shells, animals, etc. Often after a big storm, the plovers have to move elsewhere in search of food sources. Sometimes they even have to look for new nesting grounds. They need a fair amount of beach to set up their nest away from the tide line – and storm surges. So when a storm surge eats away 20 feet of beach, they are desperate to relocate.
The Piping Plover is an endangered species. So please watch for these signs and respect their habitat. This is one of the reasons that animals are not permitted on North Shore beaches in the national parks during the summertime. Dogs foraging about may disturb sensitive nesting areas.
In 2010, conservationists counted 69 plovers on the Island.