OPINION: Protect the Piping Plover

I have concerns about the protection of the state-threatened piping plover, a shorebird that nests and feeds along coastal sand on our beaches.

This picture from the National Audubon Society shows a downy young and breeding adult piping plover. (Photo: Melissa Groo/Audubon Photography Awards)

They are nesting this time of year. People who walk their dogs at the beach need to be aware that letting them off their leash could frighten the plovers and cause them to leave their nests and abandon their eggs.

The Audubon Society in West Haven helps protect the piping plovers by putting up string fencing so people know where the nests are located. People need to respect the fences and not go into those areas that are marked off.

While I was a Wildlife Guard at the West Haven beach, I learned about the piping plovers and how to teach the public about what makes them endangered and how to protect them.

In addition to staying far away from their nests, another way to protect them is to pick up any trash you see at the beach. The trash left on the beach can attract predators of the piping plovers, such as gulls and crows, and they may prey upon the plover eggs and chicks. Don’t feed the gulls and bring any food and containers home with you.

If we all follow these guidelines, we can protect this endangered species.