MADISON, Conn. (WTNH) – Very small birds called ‘piping plovers’ return to the Connecticut shoreline every summer to nest and feed. The problem is, that people often interfere with their habitats.
Hammonasset Beach is a place of fun and relaxation, but it’s also the home of the ‘piping plover’, whose very existence is being threatened.
“They rely on camouflage to conceal themselves, their chicks, and their eggs,” said Corrie Folsom-O’Keefe, bird conservation director from Audubon Connecticut.
She said each year, the bird migrates to the north from the south for one specific purpose.
“It takes 28 days for their nest to hatch and then another 28 days for those chicks to reach the point to where they can fly,” she stated.
Piping plovers lay their eggs in open spaces on the beach, making them vulnerable to predators and humans who don’t watch where they step. That’s why officials have put fences in place, to guard the nesting grounds.
”Once those chicks hatch they’re mobile right away, they’re ready to go. So, they’re walking learning how to find food for themselves, take care of themselves,” said Brian Hess, a DEEP wildlife biologist.
Under federal guidelines, the piping plover is considered a threatened species. Audubon Connecticut’s goal is to keep the bird from becoming extinct.
”Stay out of that string fencing, and then stay away from the string fencing about 10-15 feet if you can. And second, if you see the birds outside of the fence give those birds space,” said Folsom-O’Keefe.
By observing these tips, and signs posted along the beach, man and bird can coexist, at least until they take flight for the winter.