A HAPPY ENDING TO A TOUGH YEAR
By Todd Pover, Beach Nesting Bird Project Manager
There is no way to sugar coat it – this has not been a stellar year for piping plovers in New Jersey. Due to a number of ill-timed severe storms, high tides, and heat waves, chick productivity was low this year. There was some comfort in knowing that these events were largely out of our control, so at least it wasn’t something we could have prevented. At the same time, there is a nagging feeling that years such as this are the new “normal” as we enter an era of climate change where more extreme weather is predicted.
While there were a number of tough moments throughout the season, one incident was especially frustrating for the staff. Several days after a piping plover chick reached its fledge (flying) date at Cape May Point State Park, where it had battled marauding crows for over a month, CWFNJ field technician Sarah Scheffer discovered the fledgling dragging its wing. This is never a good sign – usually it indicates a broken wing. Fortunately, because we monitor the site daily, we caught the problem immediately. (more…)