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Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : Division of Fish & Wildlife : Volunteers : Piping Plover Program

 
Piping Plover Volunteer Program

 

Help Protect Endangered Piping Plovers!

 

Piping Plover - Joe Patson

 Piping Plover - Photo by Joe Patson 

Piping Plover Quick Facts

  • Dwindling populations have landed the Piping Plovers on the federal Endangered Species List. Since being listed, protections of nesting areas have been instituted and the Atlantic Coast population has doubled.
  • Piping Plovers begin arriving and nesting on Delaware's beaches in March. They generally migrate south by September.
  • The numbers of nesting Piping Plovers in Delaware has ranged from a low of two pairs to a high of 10 pairs in 2009.
  • For the past 12 years, all Piping Plover nesting in Delaware has been at Cape Henlopen State Park.


What is the Division of Fish and Wildlife doing to protect the Piping Plovers?

As piping plovers begin arriving in Delaware, the Division monitors their activities.  Areas that the Division has identified as suitable nesting habitat are closed in order to provide disturbance-free zones where the plovers can nest. The Division continues to monitor the breeding plovers until the last chicks of the season have migrated south.


What do volunteers do?

To ensure continued breeding success, Fish & Wildlife depends on volunteers to help inform the public about the breeding progress of the plovers and that they need to stay out of nesting areas. Although closed off by fencing and signs posted against public entry, people still sometimes enter the closed areas. In doing so, they can harm the birds by stepping on eggs and/or chicks. Trespassers can also cause adults to leave nests, exposing the eggs to sand temperatures of up to 120 degrees on a hot day, and can interrupt feeding efforts. Well-fed, healthy birds have the best chance of survival and reproduction. Volunteers who educate the beach-going public can help to prevent disturbance to plover adults and chicks.

Volunteers should be able to walk to monitoring stations on the beach, which can be as far as 1/2-mile away from parking areas. Volunteers will also be offered training for interacting with the public and answering Piping Plover questions. 


To Volunteer

Contact Matt Bailey, Fish and Wildlife Biologist: matthew.bailey@state.de.us or 302-735-8677.  

 Piping Plover Chicks - Victoria Withington
 Piping Plover Chicks - Photo by Victoria Withington

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