Piping Plovers Experience Poor Nest Productivity Year in Delaware

A banded piping plover male photographed in mid-July at Cape Henlopen State Park on Delaware’s Atlantic coast/DNREC photo.

 

DNREC Provides Updates on Other Beach-Nesting Bird Species

Beach-nesting piping plovers experienced poor nest productivity on their breeding grounds in Delaware during 2021, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today in summarizing the rare shorebird species’ nesting success within the state.

Six pairs of piping plovers were recorded nesting at The Point at Cape Henlopen State Park with 18 more nesting pairs at Fowler Beach on Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, making for a modern-day record total of 24 breeding pairs. Despite the record number of breeding pairs, piping plovers were less successful in producing only 19 fledglings, young birds that hatched and can fly in leaving their nest. Poor fledgling productivity is suspected to be the result of nest loss from a Memorial Day storm and higher-than-average predation at Fowler Beach.

Record piping plover productivity was documented in Delaware over the previous three years for the federally-listed threatened species and Delaware state-listed endangered species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established a goal of 1.5 fledglings per breeding pair in 1996 as part of the piping plover recovery plan, with Delaware’s nesting productivity exceeding that goal from 2018 to 2020. This year, the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife recorded 19 fledglings, for a productivity rate of 0.8 fledglings per breeding pair. In 2020, 21 breeding pairs were documented, producing 47 fledglings for a productivity rate of 2.2 fledglings/pair.

Delaware’s piping plover recovery effort involves partnerships between DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife and Division of Parks and Recreation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services.

In other beach-nesting bird species nesting season updates, two pairs of American oystercatchers nested at The Point at Cape Henlopen State Park while one pair nested at Delaware Seashore State Park. Although the nest successfully hatched at Delaware Seashore State Park, the chicks did not fledge. A pair of American oystercatchers were observed using the marsh islands of Delaware Seashore State Park and were seen with two chicks that appear to have successfully fledged. Least tern counts were lower than recent years, with only four breeding pairs and four nests found at Cape Henlopen State Park, where only two chicks hatched, and neither of them fledged.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities, and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife conserves and manages Delaware’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, and provides fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating access on nearly 68,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov, or Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov

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DNREC Reopens The Point at Cape Henlopen State Park

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will reopen The Point at Cape Henlopen State Park, including a stretch of ocean beach and dunes, and a half-mile along the bay shoreline, Wednesday, Sept. 1. The bayside beach will remain closed until Oct. 1 for use by shorebirds migrating south for the winter.

The area to reopen includes a stretch of ocean beach and dunes that was previously closed on March 1. Since 1993, The Point has closed annually each March for the benefit of threatened and endangered beachnesters and migratory shorebirds, including red knot, piping plovers, oystercatchers, least terns and other species.

The DNREC Divisions of Parks and Recreation, Fish and Wildlife, and Watershed Stewardship have worked together since 1990 to implement a management plan to halt the decline of beachnester and migratory shorebird populations.

For more information, contact Cape Henlopen State Park at 302-645-8983 or stop by the park office.

About DNREC

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation oversees more than 26,000 acres in 17 state parks and the Brandywine Zoo. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Shauna McVey, shauna.mcvey@delaware.gov or Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov.

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Gordons Pond Area of Cape Henlopen State Park to Be Closed Wednesday and Friday

The Gordons Pond parking area, pavilion, beach area and surf fishing vehicle crossing at the southern end of Cape Henlopen State Park will be closed on Wednesday, June 2 and on Friday, June 4 for a security event coordinated among local, state and federal authorities.

There will also be intermittent periods on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday when the southernmost portion of the Gordons Pond trail within the park will be closed.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation oversees more than 26,000 acres in 17 state parks and the Brandywine Zoo. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov; Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov

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DNREC Reminds Public That The Point at Cape Henlopen is Closed for 2021 Beach Nesting Season

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control reminds the public that The Point at Cape Henlopen State Park, including a stretch of ocean and bay beach, is now closed. Since 1993, The Point has closed annually each March for the benefit of threatened and endangered beachnesters and migratory shorebirds, including red knot, piping plovers, oystercatchers, least terns and other species.

The Point’s nesting habitat on the ocean side will reopen to the public Sept. 1. The bayside beach will remain closed until Oct. 1 for use by shorebirds migrating south for the winter.  

The DNREC Divisions of Parks and Recreation, Fish and Wildlife, and Watershed Stewardship have worked together since 1990 to implement a management plan to halt the decline of beachnester and migratory shorebird populations.

For more information, contact Cape Henlopen State Park at 302-645-8983 or stop by the park office.

About DNREC

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities, and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation oversees more than 26,000 acres in 17 state parks and the Brandywine Zoo. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Shauna McVey, shauna.mcvey@delaware.gov or Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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Piping Plovers Nesting in Delaware Reach New High Number

Over 50 Fledglings for Third Record Year, Above Species Recovery Goal

For the third consecutive year, Delaware recorded a new all-time high number of nesting piping plovers, small beach nesting birds on Delaware’s state endangered list. DNREC’s piping plover monitoring program tracked 21 nesting piping plover pairs that produced approximately 51 fledglings, young birds that can fly. This productivity rate of 2.4 fledglings per pair is well above the long-term goal of 1.5 fledglings per pair for piping plover recovery established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Aiding in the recovery of threatened or endangered species, like the piping plover, is a key component of DNREC’s wildlife conservation mission,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “With a third record-breaking year for piping plover fledglings, these small endangered beach nesters are on their way to becoming one of Delaware’s conservation success stories.”

Five pairs of piping plovers nested at the Point at Cape Henlopen State Park and 16 pairs nested at Fowler Beach on Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge. For the fourth year in a row, piping plovers did not nest at Gordons Pond within Cape Henlopen State Park, possibly due to the combined factors of encroaching vegetation limiting sandy nesting habitat and the availability of more attractive nesting habitat at Fowler Beach.

The piping plover is a federally-listed threatened species and a Delaware state-listed endangered species. Recovery of the species involves partnerships between DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife and Division of Parks and Recreation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Wildlife Services.

In other beach nesting bird updates, two pairs of American oystercatchers nested at the Point at Cape Henlopen State Park and two pairs nested at Delaware Seashore State Park, but none successfully hatched chicks. Fifty-nine least tern nests were found, 24 at Cape Henlopen State Park and 35 at Fowler Beach on Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge that collectively produced eight fledglings.

During beach nesting bird monitoring this year, the Division of Fish and Wildlife implemented COVID-19 safety precautions to protect staff and the public while working to conserve Delaware’s wildlife.

For more information, visit piping-plovers and other beach nesting birds.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Fish and Wildlife conserves and manages Delaware’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, and provides fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating access on nearly 65,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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