Watch out for piping plovers

LAURIE DOBSON PHOTO Jean Lawless and Christine Pelletier putting up one of the posters at Shell Beach.

LAURIE DOBSON PHOTO Jean Lawless and Christine Pelletier putting up one of the posters at Shell Beach.

Each year, the piping plovers return to make their nests on sandy beaches throughout the East End.

Once they do, it is important to protect the birds and their nests. Jean Lawless and Laurie Dobson are the local plover monitors for the Long Island Colonial Waterbird and Piping Plover Survey under the auspices of New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

They fill out forms about the birds’ habits at the end of every season.

The plover committee has put up posters made by Shelter Island students in Stephanie Sareyani’s art class. These posters, 16 in all, implore those who walk Shell Beach and other Island beaches where plovers nest to keep their dogs on leashes.

JAMES HALSCH PHOTO Images of newly hatched piping plover chicks (the first of the season) with adult plovers photographed last week at Shell Beach.

JAMES HALSCH PHOTO A piping plover last week at Shell Beach.

Ms. Dobson explained that the birds are greatly disturbed when dogs are in the area and will not eat.

“Chicks have to feed themselves and run all over to find insects,” she said. “They must have access to the shore where they primarily feed.”

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