The Piping Plover

The Piping Plover was declared an Endangered Species in 1985. In Eastern Canada the Piping Plover is only found on coastal beaches. The nesting area in Stephenville Crossing is on the stretch of beach shown above, near the Gut Bridge. The Semipalmated Plover and the Black-Bellied Plover are also seen in this area. Another member of the Plover family is the Killdeer, which occurs rarely on beaches but is sometimes seen in fields around Stephenville Crossing.

The Piping Plover is a sand-coloured, sparrow-sized shorebird that nests and feeds along coastal sand and gravel beaches. The adult has yellow-orange legs, a black band across the forhead from eye to eye, and a black ring around the neck.

It will run in short starts and stops. When still, the Piping Plover blends extremely well with open, sandy beach habitats.

It gets its name from its call notes, plaintive bell-like whistles which are often heard, before the birds are seen.

The photos above were taken by Mr. Neil Dollard at the nesting area of the Piping Plover, on the Stephenville Crossing shoreline. This past summer (2002) students were hired to protect the nests where possible and to educate people using the beach about the importance of the birds and how to avoid their nests.

The information used for this article was taken from a brochure printed by Environment Canada.

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