How appropriate to come across the Snowy Plovers during the Mother's Day weekend - it sure brought a huge smile to my face to be able to watch this little family.
Sanibel's beaches provide a year-round home to approx 10 pairs of the state's 220 pairs of Snowy Plovers. Snowy plovers nest and raise their chicks from February to August. They create a small depression in the sand (called a scrape) which serves as a nest. The female lays three eggs. The male and female take turns incubating the eggs (I like this idea). Chicks hatch about a month after the eggs are laid. They are able to run and feed within hours of hatching. The chicks in these photos are one day old.
|Parent with one chick.|
|Parent with blings (Mom)|
|Chick - I often refer to them as being a fuzzy marshmallow/cotton ball on toothpicks because that is the actual size.|
|"Steady I go!"|
|Parent heading close to shore.|
|The parent with 3 chicks are in this photo - can you find them?|
|Mom with chick|
|There's no place like home....check the chicks as they maneuver back under the parent's belly.|
|The entire family - all 5 of them.|
|(this parent is still incubating the eggs)|
|....and when one family happen to encroach onto the other family's plot, a heated exchange took place.|
|The boundaries are roped off with signage and flags....sometimes Snowy Plovers fail to notice.|
|Look at the baby - it made itself really small and tried to stay away from any harm....|
|as soon as he got the go ahead from the parents, it took off running.|
So....what can you do to help snowy plover?
* Respect signed nesting areas. Plover nests are really difficult to see. The posted areas prevent beachgoers from accidentally trampling the eggs in a nest.
* Honor the leash law. Plovers view dogs as predators. An unleashed dog can destroy nests and kill hatchlings.
* Adopt a snowy plover. For more information - visit - http://www.sccf.org