Nature Canada

Piping Plovers persevering through snow, predators

Volunteer Piping Plover guardian Kim Toews has sent us a quick update on the nests at Sauble Beach this season:
Nest 1
F1 & M2 (1st female to arrive / 2nd male to arrive)
This female and male are a returning pair from last season. The female had several mating attempts with M1 before her 2009 mate returned. In 2008, the female successfully nested at Oliphant.
There have been indicators that the hatch may occur soon. It will be interesting to see how many chicks hatch as our female laid her third egg in a heavy snow-storm and we had two evenings of -4 degrees C temperature.
Two Merlins observed hovering inside the perimeter fence. One falcon flying towards a feeding male on the beach and the other flying over the exclosure.
Nest 2
M1 & F2 (1st male to arrive / 2nd female to arrive)
This male is from Gulliver Lake, northern Michigan and he is a year old. This female is a chick that hatched at Sauble Beach last season. As far as we know, this is the first Ontario Piping Plover to return and establish a nest in the same area.
Two Additional Males
Two additional males have been seen on the beach for several weeks now. These males are building scrapes to attract a female, but with no luck at this time.
We have had several visitors recently from as far away as Germany, Holland and Elliot Lake. All heard about the birds when visiting the area and made a special trip to see them. Our volunteer guardians answer questions, monitor the plovers and share personal observations about this endangered species. The guardians provide visitors with information brochures on these birds and a spotting scope has been set up on the beach for visitors to observe the plovers. Their behaviour can be fascinating even to those who have never been birdwatchers.
Thanks for the update, Kim! It sounds like the plovers are persevering through all sorts of obstacles this year. We can’t wait to find out how they do when their eggs hatch.
Photo by Brendan Toews,

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