piping plover


Against Odds, Piping Plovers Rebound

So you think life is tough? You should be a baby piping plover. Born in a mere scrape in the sand, expected by your parents to fend for yourself from birth, facing danger at every turn from skunks, raccoons, crows, hawks, storms, off-road tires.

And yet the tiny birds — and there are not that many of them left — appear to be doing pretty well on the Vineyard this year, albeit with the help of a social safety net that would be the envy of hard-scrabble humans.

Norton Point Closed to Vehicles to Protect Piping Plover Chicks

Norton Point Closed to Vehicles to Protect Piping Plover Chicks


Over the past four days, public and private officials have closed sections of Norton Point and East Beach to four-wheel-drive vehicles to protect newly hatched piping plover chicks and nests with eggs yet to hatch.

In Massachusetts, the piping plover is a threatened species. After hatching, the chicks take about 30 days before they fly, making them vulnerable to the tires of four-wheel-drive vehicles driving along a beach.

All Outdoors: The Plight of the Plover

Is it too early to be thinking about the breeding season? Yes, in general, but no for the piping plover, a species that usually returns to Martha’s Vineyard in late March and begins nesting by mid-April. For this year, on Jan. 10, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service added this species to its list of endangered and threatened wildlife.
This action was taken because of the nationwide declines in piping plover populations. In the Great Lakes region the decline has been so severe that there are now less than 20 pairs.