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Monitoring and Protection

Monitoring & Protecting Piping Plovers - The Science of Plovers

From April through August, a team of biologists monitors and protects breeding Piping Plovers on about two dozen beaches across Nova Scotia. We conduct more intensive plover monitoring on the South Shore of Nova Scotia - the province's most concentrated plover breeding region. It is believed that this region supports a population of plovers that is reproductively isolated from other parts of the province. This subpopulation's small size, isolation, and its poor reproductive success put it at risk of continued decline and possible extirpation (extinction from the region). Read more on threats to Piping Plovers.

What do biologists do?

Monitor nest productivity:
Regular surveys of beaches locate breeding pairs and nest checks determine numbers of eggs hatched and chicks fledged.

Protect nesting habitat:

*Signs and fencing Breeding failure can result from human disturbance (approaches too close to nesting plovers, trampling of eggs and chicks by people/dogs). To protect breeding plovers, we set up ?Do not Disturb? signs and rope lines around sensitive nesting habitat.

*Predator exclosures Predation is a major cause of nest failure in southern NS. When there is a high risk of nest predation, we use nest exclosures to protect eggs. These cages allow plovers to walk in and out during nest incubation, but prevent predators from entering and eating the eggs. Nest exclosures can help increase hatching success.

Educate beach users:
Public education on threats to plovers and how to avoid nest sites also assists in protection.

Work with landowners & habitat managers:
We encourage landowners and coastal habitat managers to participate in conservation and stewardship of dwindling coastal habitat.

How is monitoring data used?

The data collected from monitoring and protection efforts is used to inform species recovery planners and beach management decision-makers, and to increase public understanding. Beaches are widely used by different organisms, including humans, and monitoring data from surveys can provide a useful picture of what and when species use beaches and how that may change over time.


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