Long Island, New York, beaches are important breeding grounds for piping plovers, a species listed as federally threatened. The Atlantic Coast population consists of only about 800 breeding pairs and 200 of them nest in New York.
I have been photographing the plovers on a Long Island Sound Beach near my home for seven years. I have captured their entire breeding cycle from arrival in mid-March to mating, scrape building, brooding, hatching, early flight practice, feeding and departure in the late summer and early fall.
One evening on the beach, a mother and her child approached me to get a better look at what I was photographing. I pointed out the plovers and their scrape (nest). They were taken aback and responded that they thought that birds nested in trees. It had never occurred to me that some people don’t realize why there are signs to stay outside the roped-off areas or keep their dogs off the beach. They just do not know they could be putting a species in harm’s way. Continue reading →