The Plight Of The Plover At Cape Cod National Seashore

National Parks Traveler
Friday, July 20, 2012


Student Conservation Association interns worked on Cape Cod National Seashore this summer to educate beach-goers on piping plovers, a threatened shorebird. SCA photo.

Source: National Parks Traveler, by Theresa Conn

It was early morning on Cape Cod National Seashore. I was walking cautiously along the beach with three shorebird biologists trained in avian behaviors. We were looking for signs of piping plovers, which are federally threatened shorebirds that nest all over Cape Cod.

It was my ninth day at work as a Shorebird Conservation Intern, and already I felt like I knew what I was doing. However, it was early, and I felt my mind drifting.

“Theresa, freeze!” yelled Dennis, my supervisor. Like a child playing a game, I stiffened immediately without even a thought. My right foot was raised in the air, only inches above the ground.

“Do you see it? You’re pretty close to a scrape,” Dennis said, both chastising and understanding.

I looked around but saw nothing. Finally, I spied the small, sand-colored piping plover egg lying in a hidden nest in the ground, about five feet away. At that point, I realized how easy it would be for someone to step on a nearly invisible nest by accident. After all, piping plovers, shorebirds that are fighting extinction, have a hard enough time staying alive without me crushing their eggs. … continue reading