Center at Fairfield

Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds

The scores of volunteers and staff who protected the nests of federally threatened Piping Plovers on Connecticut’s beaches did such a good job during the 2017 season that we broke the all-time record number of breeding pairs. Nine of those nests were at our Milford Point Coastal Center and nearby beaches.

Sixty-six pairs of Piping Plovers produced 100 chicks in the state. This is only the fourth time we have exceeded 100 chicks fledged since record keeping began.

Photo by Patrick M. Comins

 

Statewide, the plovers produced 1.52 chicks per nest. The goal for population stability is 1.2 chicks, while 1.5 chicks or better per nest will lead to an increase in the population.

Thirteen times since 1996 the production rate has topped 1.5 chicks per nest. If sustained over time and a wide enough area, the success rate is good enough to actually result in an increase in the number of Piping Plovers.

“If Connecticut’s success was replicated in other states, Piping Plovers probably would likely be headed for removal from the endangered species list,” said Patrick Comins, executive director of the Connecticut Audubon Society.

The Piping Plover protection program is coordinated by Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and greatly assisted by the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, a partnership of Audubon Connecticut, the Connecticut Audubon Society, and the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History.

The Alliance trains and coordinates the volunteer team and provides field staff to assist conservation efforts statewide, with a focus on Piping Plovers, American Oystercatchers, Least Terns, and Common Terns.

Here are the Piping Plover numbers, year by year.

 

Year Pairs Chicks Chicks per nest
1996 24 34 1.3
1997 26 44 1.69
1998 21 22 1.04
1999 22 32 1.45
2000 22 41 1.86
2001 32 39 1.2
2002 31 58 1.87
2003 37 48 1.29
2004 40 54 1.35
2005 34 55 1.61
2006 37 79 2.13
2007 36 69 1.91
2008 41 102 2.48
2009 44 74 1.68
2010 43 82 1.9
2011 52 71 1.36
2012 51 60 1.17
2013 45 82 1.82
2014 51 116 2.27
2015 62 112 1.8
2016 63 87 1.38
2017 66 100 1.52

 

 

 

 

 

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