Oregon Coast Aquarium is treating an injured female Western snowy plover found at a plover nesting site in Oregon Dunes Overlook. Researchers identified and captured the endangered bird while conducting nest surveys in the sand dunes.
After cleaning the wound, stabilizing the wing and taking X-Rays, Aquarium staff transferred the plover to Wildlife Center of the North Coast, where a wildlife veterinarian diagnosed a few day-old compound fracture in the humerus. Due to the small size of the shorebird and nature of the break, her condition is guarded, but she appears to be eating fine and gaining weight.
“This female was born in 2015 at Oregon Dunes Overlook and stayed in the same area to breed as an adult,” said Daniel Farrar, the researcher that found the injured plover. “Last year she successfully raised a chick on her own, which is somewhat rare as males usually rear the chicks. The year prior, two of her chicks fledged under the supervision of her mate.”
The Western snowy plover, listed as a federally threatened species since 1993, can be found along the entire Oregon coast. From March to Mid-September, certain Oregon beaches restrict public-use activities to protect nesting snowy plovers.
Snowy plover nests are especially vulnerable because the eggs are laid right on top of the sand. Humans, dogs and unusual sounds can frighten the adults, leaving the eggs or chicks exposed to the elements and predators.
Visitors are encouraged to not bring dogs, bikes or kites to the area. You can also avoid disturbing the birds by staying on the wet sand area of the beach.
Thanks to active recovery efforts, predation management and beach restrictions, the number of snowy plover eggs and fledglings in Oregon has consistently increased, and plovers are again nesting on beaches where they have not been seen for many years. By staying informed and planning your trip to the beach ahead of time, you contribute to Western snowy plover species survival.
Several Western snowy plovers have been rehabilitated and released by the Oregon Coast Aquarium in the past few years. Last year, the Aquarium treated over 230 wildlife cases. The facility relies on visitation, grants, and donations to finance its annual operations, including the Wildlife Rehabilitation Program. To help support the Aquarium’s rehabilitation efforts, please visit www.aquarium.org/support/make-a-donation.