Monday, February 15, 2010

Massachusetts' piping plover population takes a dive

The numbers for 2009 are in.

Here in Massachusetts, the cutest things on the planet had kind of a low survival rate in 2009: State's piping plover population takes a dive |

Meanwhile, in North Carolina at Cape Lookout National Seashore they had a pretty good fledging rate in '09 even though the number of nests was down.

In other news, the Cape Cod National Seashore is planning to poison crows to protect the piping plovers this season. Crows are a major predator on piping plovers -- eggs, chicks, and even adults -- so I can sort of see why the biologists would resort to this. However, I remember several years ago when they poisoned the gulls at Monomoy (also on Cape Cod for those readers unfamiliar with Massachusetts) and had gulls dropping dead in the streets of the nearby resort towns. That was extremely unpopular so they reverted to shooting the gulls instead.

I'm not sure how they would avoid having crows dropping dead in the streets given that the poison takes from 12 to 72 hours. I wish there were some other way to deal with it, but predator exclosures have not worked for protection from crows. The crows are smart and figure out there's prey where the exclosures are.

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