This week I have some images of Semipalmated plovers that I stumbled across quite by accident. I know very little about these birds so I did some reading to learn more. This encounter was only the second or third time I have had a chance to observe plovers.
Plovers spend time int the North where they breed in arctic tundra. They forage in mudflats, agricultural fields, river margins, sewage ponds, and lakeshores and eat a wide variety of prey. Semipalmated Plovers eat mostly small invertebrates but also eat spiders, fly larvae, beetles, eggs of horseshoe crabs, earthworms, snails, marine worms , slugs and plant seeds.
Semipalmated Plovers nest on dry gravel, pebbles, sand, or very short tundra vegetation, often near a wetland or wet area for feeding. The nest is a simple shallow scrape lined with materials available nearby. Males make the scrape using their feet and bodies, then line it with plant matter such as leaves, shells, rocks, grass, moss, seaweed, and other debris such as glass or charcoal.
A female usually lays between 2-5 eggs and raise just one brood a year. Eggs hatch in 23-25 days and both parents feed and defend chicks. Males will often display a broken-wing to lure predators from the nest similar to a killdeer.
Semipalmated Plover one of the few shorebirds that appear to have a stable population. Despite the current stability of the population, there are factors that threaten this species: every year hundreds or thousands are killed by hunters in South America. Oil spills and other forms of pollution can poison birds and shore erosion due to climate change can have major impacts on their arctic breeding habitat.
The oldest recorded Semipalmated Plover was at least 9 years, 2 months old when it was recaptured and re-released during banding operations in Massachusetts in 1982. It had been banded in the same state in 1974.
That’s all for this week. Thanks for taking some time out of your day to stop by.