Maine plovers have record year

Piping plover populations are at a record high in Maine. Credit: Keith Carver

As beaches reopen to the public, piping plovers are also returning. In Maine, they’re having a record year, continuing a steady upswing. Maine Audubon reports seeing 100 pairs and 61 active nests so far this year — more than it’s ever spotted before.

But nests are showing up in some unusual places. While some beaches that opened early to the public experienced large crowds as the plovers were nesting, others remained closed due to the novel coronavirus, allowing the birds to nest without human interference. At one beach, a nest has closed a footpath commonly used by beachgoers to access the coast.

“The birds really don’t know where the people are going to be,” Maine Audubon’s Laura Minich Zitske told the Press Herald. “Normally, there would be some foot traffic in some areas, even on a crummy-weather day in the spring, that would tell the birds that this is not a good place to commit to.”

Read more from the Press Herald.