Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Snowy Plover and Chick

Snowy Plover aka. Western Snowy Plover
Coal Oil Point Reserve, Isla Vista, California, USA
July 2015
Member of the Lapwing and Plover Family
§A Brace of Plovers§
★North America's Smallest Plover

~true bird fact~ Young snowy plovers can leave the nest an amazing 3 hours after hatching, and are already capable at that point of running, swimming, and catching food. They still need the experience and brooding of their parent, who at that point is generally a single dad, but they're extremely independent as bird chicks go. Oh, you might be wondering if these precocious bird chicks are cute or not. Well..

Yes. The answer is yes.

How endangered are they? Like the Burrowing Owl, and the California Condor, the Snowy Plover is one of California's most well known endangered birds. They are designated as 'Threatened' by the Endangered Species Act, at least in their Western Population. They are a bird who makes their home on wide, flat expanses of sandy beach, mostly breeding in Southern California, and as you can imagine they run up against humanss fairly regularly. A number of concentrated conservation programs, led by the UC system, have brought Western Plovers back from the brink. I personally was able to see these plovers on a beautiful and active recreational beach near Santa Barbara, where signage, rope lines, and volunteers are all that protect the plover. It seems to be enough, as the program is a fairly dramatic success. Your blog author can never really tell why conservation for some birds really takes off the way it does, while others languish in obscurity, but it's always nice to see when it happens. Snowy Plovers are popular enough that they have a website dedicated to them,, which features an 11 minute video for kids, printable signs, and an extremely detailed recovery plan. Oh, and go watch that video, it's amazing.

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