A Field Note from Rookery Bay Research Reserve Avian Biologist – Collette Lauzau –
On November 13th, as my team and I were monitoring off Morgan beach in the Reserve, we resighted a Piping Plover that was originally banded as an adult on Cedar Island, Virginia almost 900 miles away. Scientists place bands on many species of birds to track their movements.
Last year, this particular bird was seen within Rookery Bay on Kice Island. This year it was spotted less than four miles away on Morgan beach. The plover was in a flock with nine other Piping Plovers as well as hundreds of shorebirds of different species. The population of Piping Plovers that live on the East Coast of the United States are listed at “Threatened” due to habitat loss, disturbance and predation. Many of these birds are reliant on protected areas, like the beaches within Rookery Bay, for wintering grounds and as migratory stopover points.
If migratory shorebirds get disturbed it causes them to panic and spend their energy reserves that they so desperately need to build up to continue their migration. When you’re out enjoying the beach, please remember to give the birds plenty of room to rest and recover!
Rookery Bay Research Reserve
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve stretches across 110,000 acres of pristine mangrove forest, uplands and protected waters. We are committed to preservation through research, education, and land protection.