Piping plovers have returned to Rhode Island and will spend several weeks finding new places to nest on state beaches.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, these rare, migratory birds need help to protect their nest and chicks. Piping plovers are small, stocky, sandy-colored birds that resemble a sandpiper.
“They look like cotton balls with long yellow legs,” Plover Biologist Erin King said. “They scurry up and down the beach, looking for food in the washed up seaweed.”
The Wildlife Service ropes off specific areas to protect the birds from pedestrians, pets and vehicles. Disturbing the birds may cause them to abandon their nesting site or could result in eggs being unknowingly crushed.
In order to help protect and encourage piper plover nesting, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said people should:
- Respect all areas fenced or posted for protection of wildlife
- Do not approach or linger near piping plovers or their nests
- Fill sand castle moats and other holes in the sand, where chicks that cannot fly may become trapped
- Leave pets at home, since the birds perceive them as predators
- Don’t leave or bury trash or food scraps on beaches
- Volunteer to help protect the birds