Showing posts tagged as "snowy plovers"
Did you know that today is World Shorebirds Day? We’re doing our part, and just released our final threatened snowy plover of the season, for a total of close to 20 rescued birds. Unfortunately, many shorebird species are threatened due to habitat loss, pollution and other factors.
Learn more about World Shorebirds Day and what you can do to help!
(Photos: Aimee Greenebaum)
Did you know that we help rescue and rehabilitate threatened snowy plovers? Birds in distress and eggs that have been abandoned are often brought to the Aquarium. We’ve taken in more this year than ever before: in excess of 20 eggs, and numerous chicks. We’ve already successfully released several in the Monterey Bay area! Learn more in our latest video podcast.
It’s been a busy year for our staff and volunteers working with snowy plovers! So far we’ve received 23 abandoned eggs, and are caring for 10 chicks behind the scenes. We’re also celebrating the release of two plovers back to the wild—the first of the season!
We rescue and rehabilitate abandoned, threatened or damaged eggs and chicks. Since 2000 we’ve raised and released dozens of snowy plovers, outfitting them with leg bands to help track them in the wild. “We know that they’ve been seen reproducing, having eggs and chicks of their own,” says Aimee Greenebaum, associate curator of aviculture. “I feel like we’ve been really successful .”
Snowy plovers nest in shallow nooks in the sand, which means their sand-colored eggs are camouflaged from predators—but also easily damaged. You can help this threatened species: adults abandon their nests when approached, so keep dogs leashed and stay out of marked bird nesting areas.
Learn more about our program
View snowy plovers on our live Aviary cam
Update: Apparently the dad changed his mind, and is no longer brooding the two young ones. The good news: we have taken them back in for care, as we have done many times before, and the prognosis for successful re-release is excellent!
We recently re-united to snowy plover chicks with their father on a nearby beach. The tagged chicks were mistakenly picked up by beachgoers who thought they were abandoned, and brought to the Aquarium for care. The adult plover still had one chick with him, and representatives of California State Parks and Point Blue put a small cage over the chick to keep the parent close by until we could arrive with the other two. We then placed all three chicks in the enclosure to give the dad a chance to see them. After ensuring that the male was interested in the chicks, we removed the cage and he began caring for all three once again. Success!
Once numbering in the thousands, U.S. Pacific coast western snowy plovers were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1993. Today it’s estimated that only about 2,100 plovers breed along the coast, with the largest number found from south San Francisco Bay to southern Baja California. You can help keep adult plovers from abandoning their nests. Keep your dog on a leash on beaches during snowy plover breeding season and stay out of areas that have been blocked off as bird nesting sights.
By Jim Covel, Director of Guest Experience & Interpretation
David and Lucile Packard intended the Monterey Bay Aquarium to be a gift to the community. However, I’m not sure even the Packards would have envisioned the reach and significance of that gift today. The Aquarium recently released a report detailing some of the indicators of our contribution to the community, including:
- Adding over $385 million to the local economy each year
- Educating 2.1-million school children that have visited the Aquarium free of charge over the past 29 years, plus 20,000 teachers that have participated in free professional development workshops to help bring marine science alive in the classroom
- Inviting 700,000 guests to the Aquarium free of charge since 2002 through our annual “Community Week” and special programs with community organizations and local libraries
- Employing over 500 full- and part-time staff members
Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation
Beyond the impact on humans, we could also consider our work with animals, with over more than 650 injured or orphaned sea otters that have come to the Aquarium; or the dozens of hatchling or injured shorebirds and seabirds that have come our way.
These metrics would certainly be one way to describe how extensive this Aquarium gift has become to the community. However, I also see this gift reflected in the smiles, the inquisitive looks on the thousands of faces—young and old alike—that we greet each day. Perhaps the real meaning of the Aquarium is written on those faces. A generation has grown up in the Aquarium and now brings their children to marvel at the marine life that enchanted their parents. Over 52 million visitors know more about the ocean—and care more—by virtue of their exposure to our exhibits and programs.
Volunteers: We Couldn’t Do It Without Them
While the Packard family certainly deserves credit for launching the Aquarium, a multitude of others have contributed to our enduring success. Over 5,000 volunteers have contributed hundreds of thousands of hours over the past 30 years. Over 60,000 member households, along with donors and sponsors at all levels help underwrite our education and conservation programs. Since that original gift in 1984, a growing community has formed to support the Aquarium’s mission to inspire conservation of the oceans. That community of ocean stewards now stretches across multiple generations, and may ultimately be the greatest and most enduring gift of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
If you are reading this, you are most likely part of that community that connects with the Aquarium. You are part of that gift that David and Lucile Packard set in motion in 1984, and your interest in taking care of our oceans is a gift in itself. Thank you for being a part of our growing success. Thank you for ensuring the Monterey Bay Aquarium remains an enduring gift for future generations.
We recently released four snowy plovers on area beaches, making a total of 15 this year, and over 100 since 2000.
We recently released endangered snowy plovers that were rescued and raised behind the scenes. We’ve been working with Point Blue Conservation Science for 15 years to save these beautiful birds, and have released about 100 since the program started in 2000!
Go free! Did you know that we rescue, raise and release threatened snowy plover chicks at the Aquarium? We currently have eight chicks behind the scenes, from as far south as Santa Barbara! Learn more about our program.