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Endangered species: How to save the piping plover

Credit: Kidsday illustration / Ricky Fagan

Credit: Kidsday illustration / Ricky Fagan

Did you know that there are endangered species living on Long Island?

I have an interest in the piping plover (Charadrius melodus), and here is some of what I have found  just by checking websites like allaboutbirds.org. The piping plover is a small sand-colored North American shorebird that nests and feeds along coastal sand and gravel beaches. The most known place for the bird to appear is Fire Island and other local beaches, where there is a piping plover monitoring and protection program because of how endangered the species is. Some of the seashore is restricted from driving, pets and kites during their nesting season.

Nesting occurs from late March through early June. Through nesting, the female bird lays three to four dotted eggs as small as stones. After the eggs have been laid, they hatch about 28 days later. What comes out of these eggs are little baby piping plovers, some say the chicks look like “cotton balls on toothpicks.” For the first four weeks of the chick’s life, they can wander hundreds of yards away from the nest usually staying close to a parent or two.

Everyone can help protect the piping plover by following four easy steps: 

1. Report the location of piping plovers and their nests.

2. Stay away from nest enclosures and posted piping plover breeding areas.

3. Throw away your food waste and garbage.

4. Leave driftwood and algae on the beaches.

Paul Harvey’s sixth-grade class, Copiague Middle School

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