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Endangered Species Day: A Look at Shorebirds of the Cape Fear Region

Wikimedia Commons
Piping Plover

May 15th marks the 10th Annual Endangered Species Day. While sea turtles are the poster child for endangered species in the Cape Fear region, many shorebirds are even more threatened. 

Two endangered shorebirds--the piping plover and the red knot--nest along the coast of southeastern North Carolina.

Suzanne Dorsey, the executive director of Bald Head Island Conservancy, says it’s important for humans to share the beach with wildlife in order to protect these birds. She advises against littering, which can create plastic traps for animals. And if driving on the beach, Dorsey says to watch out for nesting turtles and birds:

"The other thing you can do is, if you see a shore bird that looks like it has a broken wing, that’s often a distraction method that they use to alert you that there’s a nest there. So keep your distance, keep walking, and keep your dogs on a leash. Try to stop them from chasing shore birds, and particularly chasing them away from a nesting habitat."

Shorebirds nest directly on the beach, and Dorsey says that if you see an egg in the sand, do not touch it. Likely, the shorebird has just temporarily moved away from the egg and will return.