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Endangered birds' numbers up in Asharoken

A file photo of a Piping Plover.

A file photo of a Piping Plover. Photo Credit: Bill Davis

A threatened species of bird that nests along the beach in Asharoken appears to have made a small comeback this year.

Four pairs of the Atlantic coast piping plover hatched 12 chicks over the summer in Asharoken, with seven going on to fledge, Asharoken Village Trustee Pam Pierce said at Monday night’s board of trustees meeting.

The numbers were higher than the 2010 season, when six chicks hatched and only three fledged, said Chip Hamilton, senior wildlife biologist with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. In both years, four pairs of piping plovers nested in Asharoken, he said in an interview Tuesday.

Hamilton said the village and its homeowners have been cooperating with state and federal officials in their efforts to protect the nests and chicks of the piping plover, a small bird that resembles a sandpiper. The species is designated as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The piping plover nesting season runs roughly from late March to mid-September.

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