Piping Plover earns mainstream coverage
CHARLESTOWN, R.I. - The tiny Atlantic piping plover, a federally protected bird, has given beachgoers headaches for decades.In related news: A photograph of a Piping Plover chick, taken by Catherine Lange of Flushing, N.Y., won first place in the waterbirds category of WildBird's annual photo contest. For her prize, Lange will receive a Golden Ring 12-40x60HD spotting scope from Leupold & Stevens.
The species breeds on East Coast beaches during warm weather, which means entire stretches of shoreline can be put off limits just as people want to enjoy the coast.
But today, two decades after the plover was declared a threatened species, biologists are crediting the beach closures, twine barriers and other buffers between birds and humans for a 141 percent increase in the Atlantic piping plover population.
"Those birds have been earned the hard way," said Anne Hecht, who supervises the recovery effort for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
See the September/October issue for all 16 winning images! (Click on the image to see a larger version.)