Final 2018 Piping Plover Report

The last plover chick fledged this week! That brings us to a total of 46 fledglings (i.e. chicks that learned to fly) from 21 successful nests. As most of the piping plovers have left the area, the refuge beach opened in full today. Other sensitive shorebird species (especially semipalmated plovers and semipalmated sandpipers) are roosting and feeding extensively in the wrack line, though!
The following summary statistics are preliminary. Nesting habitat was limited due to extensive beach erosion during storms in March. While as many as 45 pairs attempted to nest on the beach, many nests were predated or flooded early on in the season, and pairs subsequently left the refuge beach. Only ~37% of nests hatched, but fledge success was good. At least 67 chicks from 25 nests hatched, and 46 chicks fledged. Chicks fledged “on time,” suggesting that they had plenty of good food this year. (Lots of wrack was washed up on the beach, so invertebrates – a primary food source for shorebirds – thrived!) Our overall productivity was 1.02 fledglings per pair.

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