As the nesting season of piping plovers is close, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department recommend people who want to visit the beach to avoid the area on which the birds will be nesting.
Besides being an endangered species, piping plovers are unable to fly during this period of the year, and their chicks are very little. Seven pairs of piping plovers are reported to be nesting along the sandy shores of Seabrook and Hampton. Also, they do not live near the water but above the rack line.
Beach-goers will be able to know where the breeding habitat is as it will be fenced with yellow roping. Inside the habitat, the seven pairs will be able to lay their eggs and raise their chicks until they are big enough to fly.
According to Brendan Clifford, a biologist with Fish and Game’s Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program, their target is to preserve and protect this endangered species, especially during the nesting season, and make sure that the beach is safe so the birds can raise their young.
Because the spring was a little cold this spring, the breeding season was delayed by a couple of weeks. Clifford hopes that the birds will soon start nesting because their chicks will hatch fast as well and become large enough to fly. Chicks usually start flying when they are 30 days old. After the nesting season has ended, the beach will become a place for recreational use again.
Even if these birds are endangered, their chicks are surprisingly adaptable as they can feed and walk on their own within just a few hours after hatching. Still, the most dangerous period are the first four weeks after hatching because, during that time, chicks are very small and hardly noticeable as well as vulnerable to many predators such as dogs, cats, foxes, crows, and gulls.
Humans also represent a threat because people have previously vandalized nests and stole the birds’ eggs. That is why education is still in progress in order to minimize the risks as much as possible. Plus, the seven pairs are monitored 24 hours a day by the Fish and Game, thanks to some volunteers who look after the birds and observe everything that occurs on the beaches.
Moreover, officials have announced that anyone who wants to volunteer in protecting the piping plovers can directly contact the Fish and Game Department piping plover monitor at 603-419-9728. Hopefully, these birds will have a brighter future.