I hear it all the time, no one likes the fact beaches are closed for a “stupid bird.” My answer is usually … it is the stupidity of humans and their destruction of the environments as to why we have these protection laws. Regardless of your feelings of protecting endangered species, Delaware is required to shut down specific amounts of beach area to protect these nesting shore birds. A few piping plovers have been spotted at the point in Cape Henlopen which is always closed every year from March 1st to September 1st for the nesting shore birds. Beach Plum Island now has a closed section for nesting birds, please respect the signs and do not enter that area. There was a pair spotted there a few days ago, hence the closing. Believe it or not the parks would prefer not to close down sections of a limited resource, we have enough issues with crowds. Then again some would argue that this very crowding is the reason the birds need to be protected. There was also a few spotted at Gordons Pond, hopefully they will nest at the point and the parks will not have to close Gordons pond this year. One can dream. Every year these birds migrate to our beaches to nest, and they are federally protected. We are required by law to protect them or we could lose access altogether, there are many other animal and plant species that are affected by just driving onto a beach, not to mention the landscape itself. We also protect these areas for a plant, Seabeach Amaranth, a rare plant, and is also federally protected. These usually start sprouting in July. At Assateague Island they put cages around the plants.
I think the part I find mind boggling with peoples attitude’s towards this bird is the fact they hate the beaches being closed and would prefer the birds were just gone. Yet many who state this also claim to be environmentally conscious. I don’t understand how you can hate protecting one species and yet could care less for another. It seems hypocritical to me that we want to protect a fish, but no one wants to protect a shore bird. Everything in nature is linked one way or another, protecting one species in the long run, could be protecting others. Many species of animals are protected because humans have infringed on their habitat and driven them off. Money and “progress” are what creates these endangered species, humans have done a great job of destroying many animal species all in the name of the mighty dollar. For those that always say you don’t understand why we have to shut down so much beach for such a small creature, maybe you should do some research yourself and try to understand why. We are lucky we can still drive onto our beaches in the first place, considering the damage that creates in and of itself.This is a bit of information from DNREC on the Piping plover … ” 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, where Cape Henlopen is its only current nesting area. Under a binding agreement and subsequent species management plan that DNREC made in 1990 with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the federal agency with oversight of this ESA-protected species, piping plover nesting areas at Cape Henlopen State Park are closed annually to the public to protect the shorebirds from disturbance during their March to September nesting season, including the Point and smaller areas around Gordon’s Pond. The closure, which must include feeding habitat as well as nesting areas, has been successful, increasing the number of piping plover nesting pairs from a low of two pairs to a high of nine pairs. Piping plovers feed on small invertebrates that inhabit the intertidal zone near their nesting territories. Chicks are not fed by their parents, but rather are led to the shoreline to forage while the adults keep watch for potential threats. Allowing pedestrian traffic in the intertidal zone adjoining nesting areas would disturb the vital link between nesting and foraging habitat and risk adverse stress or mortality to the chicks.”
Don”t shoot the Messenger (or the birds)