Hatching and raising a family on the beach isn’t easy, even for well-camouflaged birds with feathers that blend into the landscape. Piping Plovers depend on dynamic, healthy coastal ecosystems. Key challenges to the recovery of this small shorebird include habitat loss from coastal development, disturbances from recreation and motorized vehicles, predator pressures, and climate change.
Piping Plovers in southern Ontario, Nova Scotia, and southeastern New Brunswick are monitored, protected, and stewarded by volunteers and partners coordinating conservation efforts to help this species at risk. They still face many threats, including habitat loss due to development, disturbances from recreational beach users and off-leash dogs, and natural predators.
Adult Piping Plover. Photo: Pauliina Saarinen
Volunteer opportunities for Piping Plovers differ depending on your location.
Piping Plover volunteers releasing banded chicks. Photo: Mark Peck
Nova Scotia Program Coordinator
Ontario Piping Plover Conservation Program Coordinator
You can help Piping Plovers
1. Obey beach rules and regulations
Rules and regulations vary from beach to beach, but are usually put in place to protect wildlife and beach users. Help maintain our beaches and wildlife by keeping pets on leash and vehicles off the beach where indicated.
2. Respect nesting areas
In the Atlantic, most breeding beaches will be marked with signs. In Ontario, nest sites will be protected with rope fencing. Please remain outside of identified nesting areas, and walk on the wet sand to ensure unmarked nests are not trampled.
3. Leave no trace
“If you pack it in, pack it out”. “Take only photos, leave only footprints”. There’s so many ways to say it, and it’s an extremely important message. Please remove all garbage and food from the beach. Leave natural debris (like driftwood) to ensure a healthy habitat.
4. Get involved
There are many volunteer opportunities in Ontario and the Atlantic, learn about them here. You can also help by reporting your sightings.