Kouchibouguac National Park of Canada
Piping plover chicks are getting to know the Kouchibouguac beaches © Parks Canada / D. Doucet
Piping Plovers are Back at Kouchibouguac!
KOUCHIBOUGUAC, NEW BRUNSWICK July 2, 2013 — The endangered Piping Plover has once again returned to its breeding grounds on the beaches of Kouchibouguac National Park. “So far this summer in the park we have 8 plover pairs,” explained Diane Amirault-Langlais, Resource Conservation Manager at the park. “Four of those are nesting and 3 have already hatched. At this moment, 6 chicks are getting to know the Kouchibouguac beaches.”
A mature piping plover in Kouchibouguac National Park © Parks Canada / D. Doucet
Beaches across NB provide important nesting habitat for the Piping Plover, an endangered shorebird in Canada. During the breeding season from mid-April until August, Piping Plovers are extremely vulnerable to disturbances such as dogs and human activities which may cause birds to abandon breeding territories and nests.
“Piping Plovers in NB are extremely rare and their population is in decline. In 2012, 111 adult Piping Plovers were counted across NB,” explained Amirault-Langlais. “This represents a 39% decline from the 2006 population estimate of 183 adult Piping Plovers, and a decline of 20 adult birds (15%) from 2011.” Despite this dramatic decrease, NB beaches continue to provide important habitat for many Piping Plovers, with 30% of pairs in eastern Canada choosing to nest in the province during 2012”.
Parks Canada is taking measures to ensure the Piping Plover has a successful breeding season. Domestic animals, particularly dogs, are not permitted on Kouchibouguac National Park beaches. Once nests are established on park beaches, areas near the nest are closed to the public to protect breeding Piping Plovers and their nests, which are established on the beach between the high water mark and the sand dunes. Nests are so well camouflaged on the beach sand that most people cannot see them and beach visitors can unknowingly harm plovers. Once chicks have taken flight, Parks Canada will re-open the closed areas.
“New Brunswickers and beach users play an important role in the protection and recovery of NB’s Piping Plover population,” said Amirault Langlais. “Everyone can help! Here are a few easy things you can do to make a difference:”
- Keep dogs off beaches in Kouchibouguac National Park and keep dogs on leash on all beaches outside the park
- Respect closed areas for Piping Plover
- Walk on wet sand when Piping Plover are seen outside of closed areas
- Report Piping Plover sightings at our Visitor Reception Centre or on our Facebook page
- Volunteer with the Piping Plover Monitoring at Kouchibouguac National Park. For more info call (506) 876-2443.