Sunday, June 14, 2009

Babies on the Beach 2009

One of the many things I do is watch the Wilson’s Plovers on Jekyll’s southend. Every year for the past ten years I have watched the Wilson’s Plovers come in and setup house keeping. This year looked pretty bleak. In May, there appeared to be only one pair. But the Wilson’s nest in the inter dunes on Jekyll. They don’t bring the chicks out to the exposed beach until the chicks are larger. I noticed this behavior early on but did not connect the importance of this to the survival to the birds.

(Wilson's Plover in nesting area)

The last two years I have received a small grant from Coastal Georgia Audubon Society (CGAS) to monitor these birds. Because I have been able to watch these birds more closely, I am beginning to see some of the connection to the wide sandy inter dune system of the south end of Jekyll and how these birds use them. I will admit I still have more questions than answers but that is the reason for studying these birds. If you want to help me you can help by giving a small donation to Coastal Georgia Audubon Society put down for plover research. In the meantime look at the birds I have found.

This is a Willet sitting with a female Wilson's Plover and her chick
One of the chicks on the exposed beach

One encounter I watched was the interaction between a Fish Crow and a Wilson’s Plover family. It was like watching a fire drill. The adult plover spotted the crow and let out a loud “wheat” call. The chick ran. It ducked into the thick dune grass. The adult flew away from the area. When the crow kept flying toward the grasses where the chick was hiding, the adult turned and attacks the crow. The crow flew off. The adults landed and watched.

Here is the male Wilson's Plover after the encounted with the crow. The chick is in that grass behind him. You can not see it. Fascinating, but more needs to be done to understand how we can share the beach with these birds.

1 comment:

dAwN said...

Good work! so is there still just one nest? So sad that we are ruining habitat for them!