Why I Photograph Piping Plovers

July 31, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

Can you see the extra legs under this mama Piping Plover? Well, she's not actually a four-legged bird ... that is her newborn baby taking cover! For most beach-goers on the Atlantic Coast,  Piping Plovers are either an unknown or just "The Reason Our Beach Gets Shut Down Every Spring."  I want to help change that by showing just some of what makes these tiny threatened shorebirds so special. Piping Plover babies are able to walk just hours after they hatch. This is because unlike most bird babies, they find their own food by foraging, and therefore, they NEED to walk ... right away! But it also means that these teensy cotton-ball sized young are incredibly vulnerable to every type of predator right from birth. The day after they are born, Piping Plover babies start roaming the beaches. Plover parents spend their time patrolling the beach, corralling the young, and trying to ward off predators including Gulls, Coyotes, and Crows. Since Plover parents aren't exactly large themselves  ... maybe 7 inches long at most -- it is a mighty and pretty much endless effort, which sometimes works and sometimes does not. In a nest of 3-4 chicks, parents are lucky if even one survives to fledge. 


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