The Endangered Piping Plover
(Charadrius melodus)

Photo: B. Caverhill

Description: The piping plover is a small shorebird, light brown/grey in colour, with yellow-orange legs. There is a black band across the forehead from eye to eye, and a black ring around the neck.

Range: These birds arrive along the Atlantic shore of Nova Scotia in early April.  They migrate to their wintering grounds in Central and South America towards the end of summer and the beginning of fall.

Habitat: Sand beaches with cobble areas and tidal flats.  It is here in May where they lay their eggs and raise young for the rest of summer.

Threats: Threats to these unique birds include: human development, predation and habitat loss due to human use and sand dune stabilization.

Additional Information: The piping plover is nationally listed as Endangered.  The population in Nova Scotia is declining; research indicates plovers in Southwest Nova Scotia do not interact with other plovers in Atlantic Canada.

Get Involved!

Habitat Restoration

Photo: D. Smith Photo: D. Smith

What is it?
Piping Plover Habitat Management is the restoration of plover nesting habitat through the removal of marram grass, both mechanically (with tractors by Kejimkujik staff) to remove root systems and manually (by hand) to remove grass clumps.  It also requires finessing the habitat through cobble redistribution (with rakes and shovels).

Why are we doing it?
Naturally, sand dunes are in a state of constant change, but when they stabilize from marram grass growth, the ground becomes unsuitable for plover nests.  Plovers could move to another beach nearby but, with increased human development, other suitable nesting beaches are not easily found.  For this reason, managing the habitat at the protected beach in Kejimkujik’s Seaside Adjunct is underway to restore nesting habitat.

Photo: D. Smith Photo: D. Smith

Making a Difference
Habitat management began in 2003, when the first grass was mechanically removed by Kejimkujik staff.  In 2005 two pairs successfully nested in the restored habitat. In 2006 the area was doubled in size. Volunteers assisted in creating micro-habitats for plovers in the zones, by spreading rocks, ridges, and grass, in hopes of creating the best plover nesting habitat possible.  When spring arrives and the plovers return, all eyes will be on the created habitat!

Don't miss this year!
It will be critical to maintain these management zones in the future.  Some work will be done by staff with machinery, but most will depend on volunteers and their ability to maintain plover nesting habitat.  Habitat Restoration occurs from late September to late October, at the Kejimkujik Seaside Adjunct in Port Joli, Nova Scotia. Contact us to get involved!




Kejimkujik Area Stewardship Programs

People, places, species, knowledge