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Piping plovers return to New Jersey beach after 25 years

Cara J

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At Island Beach State Park in New Jersey, wildlife biologists are celebrating the arrival of three birds that look like cotton balls on toothpicks. “That’s not an exaggeration,” said Christina Davis, an environmental specialist with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, who has watched the chicks scuttling around the sandy shoreline. “They are very, very tiny.” The birds are week-old piping plovers (Charadrius melodus), the first to hatch in the park in more than a decade and the first on the ocean side of the island in 25 years. The species is listed as endangered in New Jersey, and it has been protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act since 1985. While the Atlantic population as a whole is increasing, numbers in New Jersey have held steady at around 110 breeding pairs since 1987. Wildlife biologists are hopeful that Island Beach State Park will produce more chicks in future years. “It’s a place that we really feel is important to the recovery of this species,” said Davis. “It makes us feel really hopeful that after such a long period of being absent from this site, those birds can come back.” A piping plover chick stands on the shore [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/piping-plovers-return-to-new-jersey-beach-after-25-years/

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