Access to Point Reyes beach denied so plovers can thrive - Upsmag - Magazine News

Access to Point Reyes beach denied so plovers can thrive

A couple of miles of the Great Beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore will remain off limits on weekends and federal holidays from now until Labor Day to give a species of small, threatened shorebirds a chance for survival.

The coastal dunes and shoreline between the mouth of Abbotts Lagoon and the North Beach parking lot along the western edge of the national seashore are now reserved for the reproductive monitoring of western snowy plovers.

The plover’s breeding season is underway and will last until September. Since 1993, the pocked-sized species of coastal bird have been listed by the federal government as threatened. Their habitat — shores, peninsulas, bays and estuaries — lies along the Pacific Coast from Oregon to California. The birds’ population is estimated to be about 2,500 total birds.

The snowy plover often makes its nest on sandy beaches where beachgoers can step on the plover’s eggs.

Ted Soqui/Corbis via Getty Images

Plover nests usually contain three tiny eggs and are camouflaged to look like sand to protect from natural predators such as falcons, coyotes and owls. According to the Audubon Societyplovers have limited energy, and disturbances from humans, such as walking nearby or even flying a kite, can send the birds darting from their nests.

The National Park Service says that chick mortality is higher on weekends than during the week. It cited an example in 2013 when of the 11 recently hatched chicks in the area, only three survived past the July 4 weekend.

Following last year’s breeding season, the Point Reyes Light reported some hopeful news: Ecologists were pleased to discover two broods near Abbotts Lagoon that had hatched from nests and increased expectations for their total population.

A couple of miles of the Great Beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore will remain off limits on weekends and federal holidays from now until Labor Day to give a species of small, threatened shorebirds a chance for survival.

The coastal dunes and shoreline between the mouth of Abbotts Lagoon and the North Beach parking lot along the western edge of the national seashore are now reserved for the reproductive monitoring of western snowy plovers.

The plover’s breeding season is underway and will last until September. Since 1993, the pocked-sized species of coastal bird have been listed by the federal government as threatened. Their habitat — shores, peninsulas, bays and estuaries — lies along the Pacific Coast from Oregon to California. The birds’ population is estimated to be about 2,500 total birds.

The snowy plover often makes its nest on sandy beaches where beachgoers can step on the plover’s eggs.

Ted Soqui/Corbis via Getty Images

Plover nests usually contain three tiny eggs and are camouflaged to look like sand to protect from natural predators such as falcons, coyotes and owls. According to the Audubon Societyplovers have limited energy, and disturbances from humans, such as walking nearby or even flying a kite, can send the birds darting from their nests.

The National Park Service says that chick mortality is higher on weekends than during the week. It cited an example in 2013 when of the 11 recently hatched chicks in the area, only three survived past the July 4 weekend.

Following last year’s breeding season, the Point Reyes Light reported some hopeful news: Ecologists were pleased to discover two broods near Abbotts Lagoon that had hatched from nests and increased expectations for their total population.

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