Piping plovers are again back at Second and Third beaches, so use care.
These small shorebirds are protected by federal laws and disturbing them or their nests can have serious consequences.
Always steer clear of the roped off nesting areas and keep canines leashed whenever they're allowed on the beaches.
Also, due to the presence of piping plovers and their nests, daily maintenance vehicles are not allowed on the west end of Second Beach and kitesurfing is prohibited off Second Beach until August.
- Plovers have nested on Middletown beaches for the last 20 years.
- Plovers were almost hunted out of existence and are now listed as a "threatened species" under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
- Dogs, cats, coyotes, foxes, racoons, gulls and crows prey on plovers and their eggs. Always make sure your dog is leashed when visiting Second and Third beaches during the appropriate times. (Please see Dogs In Middletown for more information)
- Plovers have a varied diet consisting of everything from insects and marine worms to crustaceans, mollusks and the eggs and larvae of flies and beetles.
- The female plover typically lays four eggs in a small nest lined with pebbles or broken shells.
- Because their size and color, plover eggs are well camouflaged on a rocky, sandy beach.
- Piping plovers generally live no more than five years.
- Piping plovers are considered an "indicator species," which provides clues about the overall health of an ecosystem.
- Piping plovers typically are in the area starting in the spring and leave in late July or early August.
- Piping plovers typically winter anywhere from North Carolina to the Caribbean.