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Piping plover population at ‘all-time low’ on P.E.I.

Annual monitoring has begun for the piping plover inhabitants on the seashores in Prince Edward Island — and the numbers are low. 

The piping plover has been listed as endangered by the Committee on the Standing of Wildlife in Canada since 1985.

Parks Canada and Island Nature Belief are monitoring 51 grownup birds, together with just a few nests and chicks. Final 12 months, they counted 69 piping plovers.

Parks Canada screens the piping plover inhabitants all through the P.E.I. Nationwide Park, whereas Island Nature Belief screens the remainder of the inhabitants at different North Shore seashores.

Sarah Hirtle is the coastal conservation program co-ordinator with Island Nature Belief. She says the low inhabitants means that P.E.I. seashores is probably not as strong as they as soon as had been.

“We’re at an all-time low for the birds,” she mentioned.

Woman with sunglasses on top of head looks through binoculars at a beach.
Sarah Hirtle is the coastal conservation program co-ordinator with Island Nature Belief. (Shane Hennessey/CBC Information)

“I believe the more healthy a seaside is, the extra birds, finally, it ought to have,” Hirtle mentioned.

Equally, Lindsey Burke, useful resource administration officer for the P.E.I. Nationwide Park, mentioned the piping plover inhabitants within the park is low in comparison with final 12 months, however she’s hopeful it should recuperate.

“We’ll nonetheless have a little bit of time the place birds may be shifting round and establishing.” 

Monitoring of the birds sometimes begins in mid-Might and continues all through the summer time, typically into early fall. The piping plovers then migrate south for the winter. 

Hirtle mentioned energetic chook watchers are the primary to inform Island Nature Belief once they see piping plovers have returned for the season.

“Once we hear that there are birds again, we’re type of ramped up and able to go at that time … we simply attempt to get out to seashores as a lot as doable.”

Keep off the dunes

Burke mentioned folks can count on extra signage on the seashores this summer time, and extra dune closures.

“We’re actually ramping up our dune closure messaging and educating guests about staying off of the dunes,” she mentioned. “Throughout the parks this 12 months, all of our dunes are closed off to customer entry.”

Sign at beach asking people not to disturb piping plovers.
Conservationists ask beachgoers to share the shoreline and respect dune closures. (Shane Hennessey/CBC Information)

There are some things Islanders and vacationers can do to assist shield the piping plover inhabitants.

Hirtle asks that beachgoers lie within the moist sand areas, stroll the seaside rigorously and preserve canine on leashes.

Although, within the nationwide park, canine are prohibited from April 1 to Oct. 15 annually.

“When you’re coming to the seaside, possibly go away the canine at residence,” mentioned Burke. “That may simply assist restrict a few of the disturbance to plovers.”

The place are the piping plovers?

Neither Hirtle or Burke would determine the precise places the place they’ve discovered piping plovers. It is as a result of people, unknowingly, and canine, are the plovers’ best predators, mentioned Hirtle. 

“For anybody who’s coming again [to P.E.I.] for the greatest summer time ever … simply admire the birds from a protected distance and don’t current as a disturbance,” Hirtle mentioned.

If an space has a plover nest, it’s normally marked off with ropes to maintain folks away from it. 

If somebody discovers a nest, they’re requested to report it to nationwide park workers or Island Nature Belief to make sure it may be protected.


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