Strathmere Plover Project aims to educate public and preserve endangered species

Volunteers with the project urge visitors to not bring their dogs to the beach.

ByTodd Haas via WPVI logo
Friday, July 15, 2022
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Human interference is a potential issue for the birds, as well as wild animals. Volunteers with the project also urge visitors to not bring their dogs to the beach as the birds see them as predators.

STRATHMERE, New Jersey (WPVI) -- In Strathmere, New Jersey, if you stroll around Corson's Inlet State Park, you will find the various volunteers with the Strathmere Plover Project.

Their main goal is to educate the public and preserve the local Piping Plovers.

The plovers are an endangered species that use the state park as a breeding ground. The area is known as a rich habitat that attracts many extraordinary species of birds, including the American Oystercatcher, the Piping Plover and many more.

"Piping Plovers themselves have a very big problem because you can't see them," says Deborah Rivel, an organizer for the Strathmere Plover Project.

The group has placed multiple signs along the park area warning visitor to keep an eye out for the plovers because they are so small and camouflaged.

Human interference is a potential issue for the birds, as well as wild animals. Volunteers with the project also urge visitors to not bring their dogs to the beach as the birds see them as predators.

The Plover Project members love to educate the public about the plovers and even let them look through their binoculars to see the birds.

"For me to walk the beach and to see the plover chicks, and to stop a group of people just walking the beach picking up shells and just say, 'Whoa right here, look at this endangered bird.' That is a big joy to me," says Peter Manzelmann, an employee with Belleplaine State Forest.

The group of plovers at the beach started with four chicks and a mother and father. The group knows that one of the chicks was taken by a predatory crow. Unfortunately, the group only spotted one chick last Wednesday and fears that it may be the only one left in the litter.

The mom's name is Celia, the dad is Cliff and the chick's name is Didi.

It will not be long before the mother will leave the father to tend to the chick. After the father is done, the chick will be expected to fly and join the rest of the family in the migration south for the winter.

"They kind of populate the Jersey coast in the northeast and then fly to the Bahamas in the winter," says Manzelmann.

The group is expected to take flight within the next couple of weeks.

If you visit Corson's State Park, you are expected to be aware of the birds and not disrupt them in any way. Protective barriers are also set in place around the area to keep visitors out.

"But a lot of it is just knowing that they are here, and so that's why we're here because we try to educate people about who they are sharing the shore with and how important it is," says Rivel.