The Los Angeles officials discovered how the rare western snowy plover had started nesting again on their shores. This happened after almost 70 years of absence. The news is encouraging and raises hope that the species might return to repopulate the area.
The western snowy plover is making a comeback
Last month, biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service discovered several western snowy plover nests on the Malibu Lagoon State Beach, Dockweiler State Beach, and Santa Monica Beach. They were able to tell that the nests belonged to the rare bird, so they covered them with wire cages to protect them.
Chris Dellith, one of the biologists who discovered the nest, is optimistic. He thinks this is a sign that the western snowy plover is returning to southern California, but the species needs all the protection and perfect conditions for a safe comeback.
“We really need the cooperation of beachgoers to help give them the space they need to nest and raise their young.”
The shorebird, one of the species on the Endangered Species List
The beaches in the Los Angeles area were usually used by western snowy plovers to roost during winter. However, the last time when biologists observed an active nest in the area was in 1949, on Manhattan Beach. Massive predation and human actions which led to the loss of its habitat threatened the small shorebird with extinction, so it made the Endangered Species List in 1993.
The habitat of the western snowy plover extends from Baja California in Mexico to Washington. However, they disappear from some of their nesting areas. In 2016, the world western snowy plover population was around 1,800 specimens.
The recently discovered nests on the Los Angeles beaches are somehow protected by their setting, but they are still at risk. Biologists highlight the importance of protecting the eggs and preserving the population of shorebirds, so they ask beachgoers to stay away from the nests and not disturb the birds.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons