Newport Field Office
Western Snowy Plover Key Information on the Oregon Coast Population
Coastal Nesting Areas
There are eight main nesting areas for the western snowy
plover on the Oregon Coast.
Five nesting areas occur on federal lands managed by
the USDA Forest Service. These sites are located at Baker Beach/Sutton
Beach, Siltcoos Estuary, Oregon Dunes Overlook, Tahkenitch Estuary,
and Tenmile Estuary.
Another nesting area is located on the Coos Bay North Spit and
is managed cooperatively by the Bureau of Land Management, Oregon
Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Army Corps of Engineers.
One nesting area is at New River Spit which is comprised
of federal, county and private lands and is managed by the Bureau
of Land Management.
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department manages one nesting
area at Bandon State Natural Area.
Size of the Coastal Population
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has coordinated a breeding window survey of the Oregon coastal population each June from 1978 to 2001. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has coordinated the survey since 2002. Breeding window surveys estimate the number of birds seen, during a one week census, in May. The Oregon Biodiversity Information Center (formerly Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center) has monitored breeding and non-breeding snowy plovers on the Oregon coast since 1990 with funding provided by state and federal agencies.
Breeding Season Population Estimates
In 2012, biologists with the Institute for Natural Resources at Portland State University observed about 290 adult snowy plovers; a minimum of 231 individuals was known to have nested. The adult plover population was the highest estimate recorded since monitoring began in 1990, continuing a steadily increasing trend in Oregon (Lauten et al. 2012).
*Estimate based on annual survey. All other based on annual breeding season monitoring and banded birds.
Number of Nests and Fledglings
In addition to monitoring the population, Oregon Biodiversity Information Center biologists also find nests and return when they hatch to band the chicks. Each nest typically has three eggs and female adult plover can renest up to three times during the breeding season. In 2012, biologists observed 314 nests and 173 fledglings. The table below shows the number of fledglings produced on the Oregon coast between 1990 and 2012 (Lauten et al. 2012). The table also lists the annual productivity of the population, or the number of fledglings produced by each male, since the males provide parental care to the chicks after hatching . The recovery goal (Recovery Plan for the Pacific Coast Population of the Western Snowy Plover) for the plover is 1.00 chicks per male, and the Oregon population has met this goal nearly every year for the last ten years.