Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Record year for Piping Plovers at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
Northeast Region, September 18, 2012
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Leucistic plover and her mate
Leucistic plover and her mate - Photo Credit: Matt Poole

Parker River National Wildlife Refuge had a record year for number of nesting piping plovers in 2012. We had 27 nesting pairs that successfully raised 39 young plovers. The Refuge had a productivity of 1.44, one of the best productivity in New England. The second highest record was 1995, when 21 pairs nested on the Refuge. The average has been 11 pairs since the Refuge started keeping records in 1988.

Twenty-one pairs of piping plovers originally nested on the Refuge beach in May. On June 3rd, a storm wiped out 12 nests and 4 plover families (chicks). However, all plover pairs renested, and an additional 6 pairs moved to the Refuge beach.

We also saw some interesting firsts in 2012. 
--We had a Leucistic plover (female) that successfully fledged 2 chicks.
--Most adults started migrating in July, abandoning their young chicks. In most years, those chicks wouldn't make it. This year, however, there were many single parents raising chicks, and some orphaned chicks that successfully fledged. In some instances, orphaned chicks were adopted by nearby families.
--We had the latest fledging date on record: August 27

Contact Info: Nancy Pau, 978-465-5753 x211, nancy_pau@fws.gov
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