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Piping Plover

26 Jul Posted by in Blog, north carolina birding, shorebird, Special Trip | Comments Off on Piping Plover
Piping Plover

You never know what you’re going to see when you come on a birding trip with Captain Joe. Besides the normal cast of shorebirds, including black skimmers, least terns, pelicans, and cormorants, sometimes we’ll see something truly remarkable. This Tuesday we took a couple out up to Hutaff Island, a protected barrier island just north of Figure Eight Island, in our Panga cruising skiff and what did we see but a rare Piping Plover.

The Piping Plover is a small shorebird, about the size of a sparrow, that nests on the shores of the East Coast, including on the beaches of North Carolina. It is a short, stout-looking bird, with dusky tan feathers, yellowish-orange legs, and a black ring around its neck during breeding season. It makes a scrape in the sand to lay an egg in, the same as the Least Tern and other shorebirds. These birds, along with other species of plover, have an interesting defense mechanism in place to protect their young chicks when they are first hatched. If a predator like a raccoon or a fox comes and appears interested in the nest, the adult bird will feign having a broken wing to divert attention towards themselves and away from the nest. This is a type of distraction display and is called, rather unimaginably, the “broken wing display.”

If you’d like to see a piping plover, come on a birding trip with us! We’d love to have you. Call Capt. Joe at (910) 200-4002 to make a reservation.