Piper Plover Breeding Is Up At Assateague Island - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Piper Plover Breeding Is Up At Assateague Island

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 ASSATEAGUE ISLAND, Md - An estimated 38 pairs of piping plovers nested along the Maryland portion of Assateague Island National Seashore during 2014 and fledged 59 chicks. Those are the highest breeding numbers for the plover since 2004.  Several factors may be attributed to the success of this year's number of fledged chicks, including mild summer weather and effective management.

Since monitoring began in 1986, the piping plover breeding population has fluctuated between 14 and 66 pairs, while productivity has fluctuated between 0.4 and 2.4 chicks fledged per breeding pair.  In the last five years, the breeding population averaged around 42 pairs, with an average productivity of 1.1 chicks fledged per breeding pair.

“While nature definitely plays a part in the survivorship of the plover chicks, we also believe that minimal disturbance is a factor in our productivity,” says Tami Pearl, lead Biological Science Technician with the Piping Plover Monitoring Program.  “Our hope is that the birds arrive early, set up their nests, and have their chicks fledged before July 4th each year, before the more intense summer weather arrives,” she adds.

Full beach closures are only implemented when it becomes absolutely necessary to protect the unfledged chicks. as they forage along the ocean.

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