Bryan Brillhart Photography Presents “Dig IB” Bird of the Week, the Western Snowy Plover
Jun 25, 2015 09:28AM
● By Paul Spear
Bryan Brillhart of Bryan Brillhart Photography presents us with the Dig Imperial Brach “Bird of the Week." The column will provide a picture of a bird(s) locally photographed and we will have background on the bird. This week’s bird is the ““Western Snowy Plover."
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The Western Snowy Plover is a threatened small shorebird, approximately the size of a sparrow. Our own Tijuana Estuary is one of California's most important nesting areas. Plover nests usually contain three tiny eggs, which are camouflaged to look like sand and barely visible to even the most well-trained eye. Plovers will use almost anything they can find on the beach to make their nests, including kelp, driftwood, shells, rocks, and even human footprints. They are very vulnerable to intrusion from off leash dogs and beach vehicles. All of these activities can frighten or harm plovers during their breeding season. Energy is very important to this small bird. Every time humans, dogs, or other predators cause the birds to take flight or run away, they lose precious energy that is needed to maintain their nests. Often, when a plover parent is disturbed, it will abandon its nest, which increases the chance of a predator finding the eggs, sand blowing over and covering the nest, or the eggs getting cold. This can decrease the number of chicks that hatch in a particular year. Did you know that a kite flying overhead looks like a predator to a plover? A kite over a nesting area can keep an adult off the nest for long periods of time.
There are many key things YOU can do to help save the western snowy plover! Allowing these small birds to remain in their breeding area, undisturbed, throughout the breeding season is most important. People should be able to recreate on the beaches AND there should be room for plovers to nest, too. The idea is to "Share the Shore." This means having fun while protecting our natural environment at the same time.