ShoreLINES: Heritage Notes from Parks Canada's Special Protected Places in PEI
Species At Risk - Piping Plover
Visiting Prince Edward Island National Park in spring? Be Piping Plover aware and keep an eye out for these delicate, endangered birds. Help us help the Piping Plover! Watch for unprotected nests and report any sightings to Parks Canada staff.
**Plover Watch 2013 - New!
The Piping Plover, with its musical call and quick movements, is a lively reminder of our coastline’s fragile beauty. Each spring, this internationally endangered shorebird returns to Prince Edward Island. It nests on sandy beaches and uses gravel and broken seashells to help disguise the location of its eggs. Once hatched, Piping Plover chicks can run and forage for food within just a few hours of hatching!
Watch this video to learn how Parks Canada has been working to recover Piping Plover populations in Prince Edward Island National Park and to see Piping Plovers firsthand within the park.
Threats to These Endangered Birds
The Piping Plover has been designated as endangered or at risk of extinction by the Committee on the Status of Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) since 1985. There are many threats to the survival of this rare bird and its tiny chicks.
© Martin Paquet
Natural predators, such as foxes, crows and mink, and severe weather, such as seasonal storms and spring tides, can destroy nests. Success is also limited by competition in Piping Plover habitat when nests, birds and the surrounding area are disturbed by the presence of people and their pets.
What Parks Canada is Doing to Help
Parks Canada has been working to recover Piping Plover populations in Prince Edward Island National Park since 1982. Parks Canada works closely with Island Nature Trust, other National Parks and the Canadian Wildlife Service to coordinate and maximize recovery efforts as well as to report on the current status of Piping Plover.
Beginning in mid-April, when the birds first arrive, data is collected to identify the numbers, location and success of Piping Plover in PEI National Park.
Management measures such as beach closure, flood rescue and exclosures are used to protect birds and chicks and increase nest productivity. Domestic animals are prohibited from beaches in Prince Edward Island National Park from April 1 - October 15 each year is to help ensure an undisturbed habitat for Piping Plovers (and other shorebirds).
The number of Piping Plover pairs in the park is declining; however the productivity rate is fair. Research is ongoing, and Parks Canada continues to work with universities and other agencies to better understand the cause of the decline.
How to Get Involved
It's easy for you to participate in the Piping Plover recovery effort.
Ensuring an undisturbed nesting area goes a long way to fostering a successful recovery for this species at risk.
If you find yourself on a beach where Piping Plovers are nesting you can help by respecting closed areas and by informing others about the plover and its plight. If you think you may have found an unprotected nest, report it to park staff.
For more information contact PEI National Park at 902-672-6350. By learning more about the Piping Plover and sharing this knowledge with others, you can help protect this endangered species.