Score one for the western snowy plover.
The threatened shorebird had a strong year on the
coast, where wildlife managers tallied 315 nests and 173 fledged chicks. The
numbers were up slightly from last year, continuing a generally positive trend. Oregon
“This was our best nesting season ever in
Oregon since we began
monitoring in 1990, so we’re feeling really good,” said Cindy Burns, a wildlife biologist
assigned to the Central Coast Ranger District and Oregon Dunes National
Recreation Area. Siuslaw National Forest
“There were some nesting sites that did not do well, but the majority of sites did really well on fledgling chicks.”
Measuring about 6 inches long, the western snowy plover is a brown, black and white shorebird that lays its eggs in open sand. The bird’s
population was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1993. Pacific Coast
Since then, protection efforts have helped the plover’s numbers bounce back in many parts of its range, including coastal
This year’s tally of 290 adult plovers is the highest since monitoring began
and includes an estimated 231 breeding birds. Oregon
Burns credits the upward trend in large part to measures such as fencing off nesting areas, educating the public and controlling predators such as crows, ravens and, in some areas, red foxes. Mild weather has also played a role.
“It’s probably a combination of all those things together, plus Mother Nature giving the birds a break,” she said.