Rare Western Snowy Plovers' Nest Spotted On California Beaches

10 May 2017, 6:47 am EDT By Andrew Norman Tech Times
The endangered western snowy plover returned to the California beaches for nesting after an absence of 70 years. Environmentalists believed that disturbance from human activity and predation from other animals led to the birds abandoning the beaches.  ( U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service )

Climate change and human overpopulation has affected animals and birds drastically. A prime example of this is the endangered western snowy plover, which migrated to the Californian beaches during summer for its nesting season i.e. from March till September.

However, since the last seven decades the birds have stopped their migration to the region due to several natural and man-made factors. This year, however, the shorebird has decided to come back to the Los Angeles County and bird lovers are wondering whether the western snowy plovers will return to California beaches each year.

Why Did the Birds Abandon The California Beaches?

Scientists believe that the mixture of growing human construction and settlement, along with predation from ravens, cats, and dogs led to the birds abandoning the Californian beaches. The western snowy plovers migrated to California beaches in 1949 for the last time. So, it has been roughly 70 years since their departure.

In 1993, federal officials deemed the bird threatened when it was revealed that only 1,300 adult western snowy plovers existed in California. However, since then, their numbers have improved as in 2016, around 1,800 snowy plovers were recorded.

What Is Being Done To Protect The Nests?

The bird's nesting season coincides with the busiest days at the beach i.e. starting from Memorial Day to Labor Day. This is why special care is being taken by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services in Ventura to ensure that the birds receive a peaceful and safe nesting environment.

"The goal is to allow humans and shorebirds like the western snowy plover to peacefully coexist along our coastline," Chris Dellith, senior wildlife biologist at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, revealed.

Since April, environmentalists discovered four nests of the western snowy plovers at the Malibu Lagoon State, Santa Monica State, and the Dockweiler State beaches. Small wire cage-like structures were installed around each of the nests to protect the eggs and the birds.

However, these measures proved ineffective in saving all the nests as the one at the Santa Monica beach was destroyed due to strong winds. One more nest in the Malibu Lagoon beach was also lost though the reason behind this was unclear.

Environmentalists revealed that the five eggs in the remaining two nests were safe from any harm for the time being.

The return of the birds may likely be a result of years of government research on how to bring it back to the state's beaches. Recovery plans and "critical habitats" have also gone a long way to make the nesting period of the western snowy plovers more secure than before.

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