Thursday, February 14, 2013

New Volunteers Needed for Piping Plover/Shorebird Monitoring

Below is a press release from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. You can also find the original document to download by clicking here. Please note that this year there will be two training sessions, one for past monitors and one for new volunteers, because we have so many tremendous volunteers from past seasons. If you previously volunteered as a monitor you will be contacted by the USFWS for more information about the refresher session soon.


 United States Department of the Interior


Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge
733 Old Clinton Road
Westbrook, Connecticut 06498-1030
Phone: 860-399-2513 Fax: 860-399-2515


To be Released:
Immediately                             Contact: Shaun Roche
                    Phone: (860) 399-2513

Subject:  Volunteers Needed for Piping Plover/Shorebird Monitoring

Spend your summer days at the beach and help protect a federally threatened species! The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners are seeking volunteers to monitor piping plovers and other shorebirds from early April until late August at beaches across our state.  A training and orientation session for new volunteers will be held on Saturday, March 16th 2013 from 10:30am to 1pm at the Connecticut Audubon Coastal Center at Milford Point; past volunteers will be offered a refresher from 9:00 to 10:30am.  The sessions will review the following: biology of the piping plover, how to monitor breeding pairs and chicks, volunteer organization and logistics, and law enforcement information. We will also demonstrate the construction of a plover enclosure and provide beach training with simulated plover eggs.

Atlantic Coast populations of piping plovers return to the Connecticut coast in March from their wintering grounds on the Gulf Coast.  The cryptic nests of the federally threatened piping plover are extremely susceptible to human disturbance, predation, and tidal wash outs. To enhance the survival and productivity of birds breeding in Connecticut, an annual monitoring partnership is cooperatively sponsored by Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), Audubon Connecticut, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Connecticut Audubon Society, and The Nature Conservancy.

Volunteer monitors will observe and record data for nesting plovers and other shorebirds at locations across coastal Connecticut. The primary duties involve assisting with observation and data collection for nesting birds 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. The work can be very rewarding, as volunteers will have the opportunity to positively impact nesting success for shorebirds across Connecticut.

For more information on the training session or for directions to the Connecticut Audubon Coastal Center, please email USFWS Ranger Shaun Roche at  Reservations are not required; but an e-mail letting us know you will be attending is appreciated.


Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

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