LISTEN LIVE: BBC Newsday

Advertisement

 

Piping plover population in Mass. sees another good year

In this 2015 file photo, a piping plover wanders around the sand just south of Nauset Beach in Orleans. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
In this 2015 file photo, a piping plover wanders around the sand just south of Nauset Beach in Orleans. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

It's looking like another good year for piping plovers in Massachusetts.

Almost a thousand pairs nested on the state's coastline, according to preliminary numbers from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. That's slightly higher than what the state saw last year, continuing an upward trend over the last decade.

Plovers are a threatened species, protected by federal and state law. They nest directly on the sand of beaches across Massachusetts. Each pair raises, on average, 1.25 chicks.

How the population does year-to-year depends on many factors, some outside of human control, like weather and storms. But Lyra Brennan, director of the Coastal Waterbird Program (CWP) at Mass Audubon — one of the organizations charged with protecting the birds — said there's lots that people do have control over.

"In terms of other things like human disturbance, dog disturbance, disturbance from kites, which they mistake as predators ... there's actually a lot of things that we can do to ensure better success and to support these birds while they're here during the breeding season," she said.

Piping plovers are such a big part of Massachusetts' wildlife, she argued they should be our state bird. (Massachusetts' current state birds are the black-capped chickadee and the wild turkey.)

"We have such a big successful population of them, and it's part of our conservation identity here on the coast of Massachusetts and something we should be really proud of," she said.

Wildlife groups in Maine also saw record numbers of plovers this summer.

Related:

Ally Jarmanning Twitter Senior Reporter
Ally is a senior reporter focused on criminal justice and police accountability.

More…

Advertisement

 

Advertisement

 
Play
Listen Live
/00:00
Close