PEI

Fewer piping plovers to date at P.E.I beaches

The small number of piping plovers spotted on P.E.I. so far this spring has Island Nature Trust officials a little concerned.

Island Nature Trust 'starting to get a little bit concerned'

The Island Nature Trust's piping plover program coordinator says the nests usually start appearing on P.E.I. beaches by now. (Parks Canada)

The small number of piping plovers spotted on P.E.I. so far this spring has Island Nature Trust officials a little concerned.

They hope the endangered shore birds are just late coming.

This is the time of year when nests are starting to appear on the beaches, says Shannon Mader, the trust's program co-ordinator.

"We are out. We are surveying many of our beaches. We are definitely finding fewer birds have returned so far," she said.

"As of Friday we had one nest on the ground on provincial beaches and I believe they had a couple in the national park. We are starting to get a little bit concerned but there is certainly still time."

In southern Nova Scotia the plover numbers are on track, with even a few additional birds this year, says Mader.

During the first week of June, a thorough piping plover count is conducted on every P.E.I. beach where the birds have been in recent years.

Mader says once the count is complete, they should have a better idea of what is happening.

Last June, 57 birds were counted on P.E.I.

In 2003 there were 112.

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