Thursday, July 31, 2008

don't touch them

Tried to post this using Twitter but it didn't shorten the URL to one of those tinyurl thingies.

A well-meaning beachgoer in Wells, Maine contributed to the death of a piping plover chick.

Many people think piping plovers live and feed in the dunes. They don't. The feed on the beach. They eat bugs in the wrack or feed on marine invertebrates along the water line. People are all the time telling me that the plovers nest in the dunes. I am all the time telling them, no they nest on the beach between the wrack line and the dunes. Big difference.

Please, please, please don't touch the chicks. Do not pick them up and move them. This is not like picking up a baby bird fallen from the nest and putting it back in, which won't hurt anything. Piping plover chicks are precocial. Their parents do not bring them food. They have to get their own food. In the wrack. Not the dunes. A newly hatched chick needs to eat fairly soon after hatching too. Hours in the dunes far away from its food source is doom.

Stories like this are among the reasons I believe symbolic fencing is not enough. There needs to be live human education and possibly beach closure.

Hands off the chicks!!!

P.S. I know I owe brilliant narrative from Saturday. It's coming.

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