Chris Allieri started the NYC Plover Project in spring 2021, after seeing people and dogs disturb plover nests at a popular beach. He realized how vulnerable the birds are to having their nesting areas disturbed. Chris contacted the National Park Service, and together they set up volunteer training. Today the Plover Project has a volunteer force of about 75 people who educate beachgoers about plover nesting areas and sharing the beach with the birds.
Protecting New York’s Piping Plovers
Written by Lauren Vespoli
This is BirdNote.
It’s a perfect July beach day on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens. But NYC Plover Project volunteers aren’t here to relax.
Trevor: In the hour and a half we've been here, we’ve talked to 50 people.
This afternoon, volunteers Trevor and Leanne are minding the Plover Project’s boardwalk booth. They’re spreading the word that while New Yorkers flock to the Rockaways to sun and swim, so do nearly 100 of these endangered shorebirds, to nest and raise chicks.
Trevor: Do you know about the Piping Plover?
Beachgoer: No… Unbelievable, how many things is around us and we don't know nothing, or read about it.
Chris Allieri started the NYC Plover Project in spring 2021, after getting a glimpse of the many threats that plovers face.
Chris Allieri: I'm like, Oh my goodness, it's a Piping Plover. I had never seen one up close.
[Piping Plover calls]
Chris Allieri: And then a dog runs after them and then kids are up on the dunes. And I'm like, Oh, my God, this is awful. Who's going to do something?
Chris contacted the National Park Service, and together they set up volunteer training. Today the Plover Project has a volunteer force of about 75.
Volunteers also walk the beach, asking people to respect areas the Park Service has blocked off for the plovers. They don’t always listen. And volunteering can be heartbreaking. Raccoons and ghost crabs eat plover eggs; flooding washes away nests. But the Plover Project perseveres, and so do the plovers. Here’s Leanne again.
Leanne: You're working with birds, but it's also a very humbling and human experience to care about something so fragile.
For BirdNote, I’m Lauren Vespoli.
Senior Producer: John Kessler
Content Director: Allison Wilson
Producer: Mark Bramhill
Managing Producer: Conor Gearin
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Piping Plover ML 351148721 recorded by H. Mirando.
BirdNote’s theme was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
© 2022 BirdNote October 2022
Narrator: Lauren Vespoli
ID# PIPL-01-2022-10-06 PIPL-01