Not only did Nehalem Bay have the first western snowy plover chick in over 50 years hatch and fledge this year, so did our newest park! Sitka Sedge State Natural Area, which will be open to the public in 2018, had three chicks hatch in late May. Just recently, two of these little birds have been spotted 100 miles from their birthplace! Plover biologists banded the babies in order to keep track of them. In late July, teenage plovers were seen sporting these very bands on beaches near Florence. Now that they are big birds, they have spread their wings to explore the coast. These birds will likely return to their birthplace to breed next year, if they can make it through the winter.
Plovers occasionally nest outside of plover management areas (plovers don’t read our maps, apparently). After reports of nesting plovers near Bayshore, Oregon State Parks beach rangers have been protecting each nest (with signs and ropes) as it is found. These buffers around the nests help people avoid stepping on the inconspicuous eggs and chicks.
Two of the nests at Driftwood have now hatched, and tiny chicks are out on the beach! Reports of these birds are now showing up on e-Bird. If you get the birding bug and want to go look for them, please be aware that the tiny chicks can be easily stepped on, and it’s very hard for them to escape. Give them some space while you enjoy this new experience!