Thursday, March 10, 2011

Piping Plover volunteers needed

Piping Plover on Long Beach in Stratford

Do you have an interest in wildlife?
Do you enjoy walking along the beaches of Long Island Sound?
Can you spare at least two hours a month to help threatened birds in our state?

Please consider volunteering as a piping plover monitor for the US Fish and Wildlife Service!

For the last several years the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Connecticut Audubon, The Nature Conservancy and Milford Point/Stratford Great Meadows Friends Group have partnered to monitor beaches between West Haven and Stratford for piping plover. These migratory birds return to the Connecticut coast in March from their wintering grounds on the Gulf Coast and stay here up to five months. The nests of the piping plover are extremely susceptible to human disturbance, destruction by predators, and tidal wash outs. This annual volunteer monitoring program has made great strides over the years in enhancing the survival and productivity of plover in our state.

Volunteer monitors observe and record data for nesting piping plovers at one of four locations: Milford Point near the Connecticut Audubon Coastal Center; Silver Sands State Park in Milford; Long Beach in Stratford; and Sandy Point in West Haven. The primary duties involve assisting the USFWS with observation and data collection for nesting piping plovers and educating the public. Volunteers work 2-hour shifts from April until the end of the breeding season (usually in August) and must donate a minimum of 2 hours per month.

If you are interested:
Please attend the training and orientation session held Saturday, March 26, 2011 from 9am to 12pm at the Connecticut Audubon Coastal Center at Milford Point.

The session will include piping plover natural history, the state of plovers in Connecticut, volunteer organization and logistics, reporting responsibilities, and beach training with simulated plovers and eggs.

For more information on the training session, directions to the Connecticut Audubon Coastal Center, or to make reservations, please call USFWS Ranger Shaun Roche at (860) 399-2513 or email Reservations are suggested but not required.
Directions to and more information on the Coastal Center can also be found on our website here.

Photo © Scott Kruitbosch

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