2020 A Good Year For Piping Plover Population

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It was a productive summer at the Delaware beaches for nesting shorebirds.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources Thursday reported that 21 nesting pairs of piping plovers were monitored, and they produced about 51 fledglings. The small beach nesting birds are on Delaware’s state endangered list.

The rate of fledglings, at 2.4 per pair of piping plovers is above the long-term goal for recovery established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Aiding in the recovery of threatened or endangered species, like the piping plover, is a key component of DNREC’s wildlife conservation mission,” DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin said. “With a third record-breaking year for piping plover fledglings, these small endangered beach nesters are on their way to becoming one of Delaware’s conservation success stories.”

This is a third consecutive year of a record-breaking piping plover population boom. Five pairs nested at The Point at Cape Henlopen State Park while 16 pairs made their home at Fowler Beach at Prime Hook.

Also this year, according to DNREC, two pairs of American oystercatchers nested at The Point and two pairs nested at Delaware Seashore State Park, but none hatched chicks. 24 least tern nests were found at Cape Henlopen State Park while 35 were discovered at Fowler Beach. Collectively, they produced eight fledglings.