DNREC Announces High Number of Nesting Piping Plovers - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

DNREC Announces High Number of Nesting Piping Plovers

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Photo of adult and chick piping plovers taken on the bay side of the Point in a previous year. (Courtesy:  Matthew Bailey) Photo of adult and chick piping plovers taken on the bay side of the Point in a previous year. (Courtesy: Matthew Bailey)

LEWES, Del. - There could be a record-breaking number of piping plovers nesting in Delaware state parks this season.

DNREC's Division of Fish and Wildlife says on the Point at Cape Henlopen, five pairs of piping plovers are incubating nests right now, with four more nests on Fowler Beach at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge and another piping plover pair setting up a territory at Gordons Pond in Cape Henlopen State Park.

"With nine known piping plover nests at the same time, we are close to tying – or maybe even breaking – the record of 10 pairs nesting in a single year," said the  Division of Fish and Wildlife's Wildlife Research Assistant Kevin Bronson.

In addition, two American oystercatcher nests have been found on Fowler Beach, along with three oystercatcher nests on Middle Island in the Inland Bays, according to DNREC.

The piping plover was listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1986, and the Division of Fish and Wildlife is responsible for its protection in Delaware.

DNREC closes piping plover nesting areas to the public at Cape Henlopen State Park annually to protect these small shorebirds during their nesting season from March into September. The closure, which includes both feeding habitat and nesting areas at the Point and around Gordon's Pond, has been successful, increasing the number of nesting piping plovers from a low of two pairs to a high of 10 pairs.

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