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Piping Plovers nesting at Griswold Point

Posted on May 8, 2014

Earlier this week RTPI Affiliate and Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds Technician Sean Graesser assisted the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) in erecting Piping Plover exclosures at The Nature Conservancy’s Griswold Point property in Old Lyme, Connecticut. This is the third year that Sean is helping CT DEEP in this delicate process where a metal cage is set up around a complete four-egg Piping Plover clutch in order to prevent predators from being able to easily take the eggs.

The exclosure, which can be seen in the second to last photo, has openings large enough for the parents to move in and out freely but most mammals and other birds like gulls and herons cannot get in. Measures are taken to put the least amount of stress on the parents and ensure they do not abandon the nest. If they do not accept the exclosure it is removed but this is very rare in this extremely successful practice. Sean took a number of shots during the beautiful spring day on Long Island Sound which you can see below.









The nest covered by dune vegetation is particularly interesting to us as it is not standard operating procedure for the species. Piping Plovers do not typically nest under any vegetation. The pair that selected that spot was very inventive to the degree that it is difficult to even see the exclosure from afar let alone the actual eggs! Clever birds…I am certain Roger Tory Peterson would be thrilled to have RTPI back in the game and helping to protect threatened species like the Piping Plover in his “backyard” in Connecticut once again.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator

Photos © Sean Graesser