In the last week of August, the final fledgling of the piping plover nesting season departed from the shore of Quansoo Beach on its first migration south.

The departure marks the end of the nesting season for plovers on Martha’s Vineyard, which spans the length of the summer. And as the Island bids farewell to the tiny shorebirds, Island and state conservationists who work to protect the threatened species have a brief moment to reflect on the health of the population.

According the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, the piping plover population is slowly increasing statewide. But on Martha’s Vineyard, experts say the local population has remained stagnant for the greater part of the last decade.

“Their numbers were definitely down from previous years,” said Matt Pelikan, an Island ecologist who works for the Trustees of Reservations. “It was about average number of nests, but about half the productivity that we usually have,” he said.

Plover productivity is measured based on the number of chicks that hatch and survive the nesting season to become fledglings capable of flight.

American oystercatchers are making a comeback too. — Lanny McDowell

On Trustees properties on the Vineyard, biologists counted 15 nesting pairs of plovers that hatched 15 eggs. Of those, eight survived to become fledglings. There were a total of 60 pairs of nesting plovers on the Island this year.

Mr. Pelikan said the problems the nesting plover chicks face are nothing new.

“We saw a lot of nest predation from mammalian and avian predators like skunks and crows,” he said. “The human activity doesn’t help, that tends to attract scavengers like skunks and causes a lot of disturbance that forces plovers out of their nests.”

He continued: “They are doing well as a population, but they did not do well on the Trustees properties this year. Even in average to good years on Martha’s Vineyard, we are probably not doing what we would like to be doing in terms of productivity.”

Luanne Johnson, executive director of Biodiversity Works, agreed with most of the points, but said the properties managed by her organization experienced a strong year for productivity.

“The pressures on the community can vary by site and vary by year,” Ms. Johnson said. “On any given year you can take care of one problem and then create another.”

Properties managed by Biodiversity Works accounted for 32 of the 60 nesting pairs of plovers on the Island this year. Ms. Johnson said the plovers in her jurisdiction hatched 82 chicks, 39 of which went on to become full-grown fledglings.

The productivity rate, she said, was almost at the level deemed sustainable by the state. But the last time that they reached numbers in that range was in 2006, and before that in 1995.

“Our success this year highlights, so to speak, that you don’t want to have all your eggs in one basket,” Ms. Johnson said.

Efforts to protect piping plovers include closing beaches to four-wheel-rive vehicles, building exclosures and culling predators.

Ms. Johnson said at the property she manages at Eel Pond off Little Beach in Edgartown, hundreds of different threatened species of birds chose to nest this summer. The narrow cobblestone spit was home to black skimmers, least turns, American oystercatchers and plovers.

Oystercatchers have been progressively reclaiming the historical range they had previously abandoned, she said.

“All these birds, they’re all part of the beaches’ biodiversity, perfectly adapted to the habitat and the food web,” Ms. Johnson said. “They eat all the invertebrates in the seaweed and their fecal deposits fertilize the dune grass, putting nitrogen into the system.”

For now, the tiny plovers that stand no more than six inches tall, speckled gray with orange legs, are on their own in their annual migration down the Atlantic coast to spend the winter in warmer climes such as the Bahamas.

Conservationists who spent all summer protecting the birds hope they return in strong numbers in April.