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First piping plover nest of the season spotted

The piping plover nesting season is off to an early start.

The first nest of the season was spotted on the Point at Cape Henlopen State Park on April 25th which makes it one of the earliest sightings on record in Delaware.  Egg-laying for the endangered bird typically starts at the beginning of May.

There were approximately 500 pairs of the piping plover along the Atlantic coast when they were first listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act in 1986.

Matthew Bailey, a wildlife biologist with the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife says solid progress has been made ever since.

“The last count we had for the full coast was at about 1800 pairs so we’ve more than tripled the numbers on the Atlantic coast.”

Delawareans who want to learn more about efforts to protect piping plovers can attend a training session on May 17th at the Biden Center at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes.

Bailey says volunteers are critical to protection efforts and educating the public as to why some areas of the beach are fenced off.

“They can answer the questions that the public might have about why the area is closed and also what stage the birds are at within those areas. Are they nesting? Do they have chicks hatched? We find that if the public knows what we are doing we typically get good cooperation.”