Piping Plovers Return

DSC_1516Wasaga Beach Provincial Park (WBPP) is alive with the sound of Piping Plovers as the 8th consecutive season gears up for a new year. Currently, there is one confirmed nest with a clutch of four eggs along the boardwalk in Beach Area 1.  This is the first confirmed nest in all of the Great Lakes so far this season.  Referred to as the West nest pair, this male and female successfully reared three fledglings last summer and have returned once again to the same location as the previous year.  An exclosure was successfully installed on May 14th to help protect the critically endangered eggs from predators such as gulls (both herring and ring-billed), American crows, raccoons, the red fox and even domestic or feral cats. DSC_1498 (1)

Wasaga Beach Provincial Park staff and Plover Guardians are also eagerly watching two additional pairs of plovers establishing their territories further East down the boardwalk.  Several of these birds also had success nests last year which resulted in a grand total of nine fledglings by the end of last season.

WBPP welcomes 2 million beach visitors during the summer season; many of whom flock to an area adjacent to Piping Plover critical habitat.  As an endangered species, it is imperative that we set up a monitoring and educational volunteer program to ensure that this small shorebird is protected during this sensitive nesting period.

DSC_1551Volunteer duties include:

  • monitoring the Piping Plovers,
  • recording their behaviour, and
  • providing information to beach visitors.

If you’re interesting in becoming a Piping Plover Guardian, training for new volunteers is scheduled for Thursday, May 21st at Nancy Island Historic Site.  For more information, please contact Patricia Davidson at speciesatrisk@wasagabeachpark.com or 705-351-0109.

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