S: Piping Plover
BC: The End!!!! :)
FC: Piping Plover | By: Maddie Hulse
1: Description | Piping plovers are small and stocky shorebirds. They have a sand colored upper body, a white underside and orange legs. They are about 7 inches in length. The piping plover is an endangered species.
2: Range | The Atlantic Coast, the Northern Great Plains, and the Great Lakes.
3: Habitat | Across the Great Plains, the piping plovers use barren sand and gravel shorelines of both rivers and lakes.
4: Food and Hunting | Piping plovers eat insects, invertebrates, and crustaceans.
5: Breeding | The female lays four eggs in a small, shallow nest lined with pebbles or broken shells. Both parents care for the eggs and chicks. When the chicks hatch, they are able to run about and feed themselves within hours.
6: Why is the piping plover endangered? | Habitat Loss: Dams or other water control structures allow us to raise and lower the water levels near plover nests. If too much water is released in the spring the plovers' nests may be flooded. Too little water causes grasses and other vegetation to grow on the sandbars, making these sites unsuitable for nesting.
7: Nest Disturbance and Predators: Piping plovers are very sensitive to the presence of humans; too much disturbance causes the parents to leave their nest. People using the sandbars and beaches near nests can accidentally crush eggs or young birds. Dogs and cats often harass and kill the birds. Other animals, such as fox, gulls, and crows, prey on the young or the eggs.
8: Ways to Prevent Extinction | Listing: populations were listed as endangered species in 1986. | Recovery Plans - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have developed recovery plans that describe actions that need to be taken to help the bird survive and recover. The Army Corps of Engineers has worked with the USFWS on Missouri River flow releases to reduce nest loss due to flooding. | Public Education - Many States are running public information campaigns to raise awareness about the bird.
9: Research: Several research groups have been set up among Federal and State agencies, university and private research centers, and the Canadian Wildlife Service. Studies are being conducted to determine where plovers breed, estimate numbers, and monitor long-term changes in populations. | Habitat Protection: There are some steps to protect the birds' habitat. This includes controlling human access to nesting areas, nest monitoring and protection, limiting residential and industrial development, and properly managing water flow.
10: Interesting Facts | Piping Plovers use broken-wing distraction displays. By acting like they have an injured wing the bird leads predators away from a nearby nest or young. Piping Plovers have an interesting way to get food. In mud flats or water-saturated sand, they will often extend one foot slightly forward and vibrate it rapidly against the surface. This causes small prey to move or come to the surface so that they are easier to catch.