PORTLAND, Ore. — Beach visitors have been flocking to Pacific Northwest beaches as the sun begins to return after a long, wet winter. While long walks on the beach with your dog may be relaxing for the two of you, it's very stressful (and possibly deadly) for the thousands of shorebirds trying to nest or rest in the midst of a long migration.
“The western snowy plover and other migratory birds really need to be left alone, particularly during nesting season and migrations,” said Laura Todd, field supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Newport field office. “Some of these birds are in the middle of a thousand-mile journey that starts in South America and doesn’t finish until they reach the Arctic. The beaches here in Oregon and Washington offer a much-needed spot to feed, rest and nest, and shorebirds rely on humans to let them be to complete their journey or nest successfully.”
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The first nest was found on April 18 on Santa Monica State Beach, followed by discovery of a nest on Dockweiler State Beach on April 27, and two nests on Malibu Lagoon State Beach on April 28 and May 4. The nests were discovered by monitors with Los Angeles Audubon and The Bay Foundation. Following their discovery, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) biologists installed small wire cages around each nest to protect the eggs from predators and human disturbance.
“This is a sign that, against all odds, western snowy plovers are making a comeback, and we really need the cooperation of beachgoers to help give them the space they need to nest and raise their young,” said senior fish and wildlife biologist Chris Dellith with the Service’s Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office. “I’m hopeful that we can find a balance between beach recreation and habitat restoration, which will allow humans and shorebirds like the western snowy plover to peacefully exist along our coastline.”
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