Piping Plovers are small, endangered shorebirds in Manitoba. Its call is described as a "plaintive peep-lo" which made it the perfect name for this blog as it too is a plaintive call, a Call to Action.
31 July 2002
All the chicks on Stevens Island and from the Channel nest have survived successfully and have now flown away from their nest sites. In the end, there were three surviving chicks on Stevens Island and two chicks from the Channel nest. Given how vulnerable the plovers are during incubation and while the chicks are young and flightless, some losses are inevitable. Compared with recent years' success rate, this year has been better in terms of chick survival.
22 July 2002
The remaining two Channel chicks have fledged successfully. They were spotted flying along the East Beach in the accompany of one of the adults. We have also had another nest abandonnment in Parking Lot # 5. It was decided to pull the last egg from the nest for to send it for analysis by the Canadian Wildlife Service. Unfortunately it was too damaged to send it securely. Perhaps we will have better luck at this location next year. As the adults have moved onto the West Beach and it is too late for them to re-nest a third time, we have disassembled the fencing in the Parking Lot for the season. Like the fencing in the West Beach blow-out, we intend to erect this enclosure again next year. We have also disassembled the enclosure on the East Beach near the Change-house. With the high water levels, the water has begun pulling on the plastic fencing and it is becoming increasingly dangerous for the young plovers who may become caught if the fencing comes down around them. In addition, it poses a hazard for the pedestrians who regularly travel this section of beach. If the plovers nest here again, we will once again erect an enclosure around the nest, but because we don't know exactly where they might nest, we won't be able to install the fencing prior to the birds return like can in the Parking Lot or in the West Beach Blow-out.
16 July 2002
The East Beach chicks hatched three days ago, but unfortunately we have lost two of the chicks. The first chick was predated by crows within hours of hatching, while the second was found to be missing this morning. The remaining two chicks are growing rapidly and are being guarded by two very protective parents. With luck they will keep close to the willow on the dunes where they are protected from crows, gulls and the like. As the nesting season is nearly finished and there has yet to be any sign of nesting activity in the fenced-off area in the West Beach blow-out, we have disassembled the fencing. We plan to fence off this area again next year in the hope that the plovers will perhaps nest there again.
11 July 2002
Another of the chicks from the Channel nest has gone missing. As the chicks are now half-grown, it is assumed that predation was the cause. At this age, plover chicks are usually pretty safe from predators as they are larger, faster and more experienced, but until they have actually fledged they are still at risk. A new nest was found on Stevens Island near Grand Marais on Tuesday. One of the three eggs had already hatched so the other two should have hatched within the next 24 hours. Because of the island's isolated nature and because the eggs were already hatching, no protective fencing has been erected. Plover chicks are mobile within minutes of hatching so the fencing is of limited protection as both the adults and chicks regularly forage some distance from the nest.