With a series of characteristic peeps, the piping plover lays two to four eggs at a time, tucking them in sandy beaches and gravel along the Atlantic coast, the shores of the Great Lakes, and parts of the Midwest and Canada. Piping plovers are dutiful parents, protecting their young from the elements by keeping the chicks under their bodies for warmth. When adults sense the presence of a predator, they will feign a “broken wing display” to draw the predator’s attention away from their chicks.
Piping plovers are globally threatened and are not a common sight even within its range. Current estimates put the total population of these birds at under 6,500 individuals. Flooding is already a major cause of nest failure in piping plovers, and rising sea levels threaten to overwhelm their fragile nests even further. The piping plover’s plight is shared by many other nesting shorebirds, such as gulls, terns, and skimmers.
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