Sunday, May 11, 2014

Snowy Plovers

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.

The Snowy Plover project began in 2002 and continues today. Staff and volunteers monitor the beaches daily, marking and protecting nests. Once the chicks hatch, they are monitored until they can fly. While I was there, I noticed that there was two separate roped off area - each family having their own plot so to speak...

(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 -


  1. Oh wow, they are just adorable. Awesome series of photos. Happy Birding!

  2. Wow I guess it has been longer than I thought since I have looked at your blog. You sure have been busy. The snowy plovers so fluffy and adorable...