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New Hope: Monitoring Snowy Plover Nests in June

Ormond Beach, Oxnard California - 6/21/24

Total Nests

Active Nests

Hatched Nests

Failed Nests

Snowy Plover





Least Tern





Two male snowy plovers watching our tideline team conduct a survey, photo by Kristen McKenna
June Snowy Plover Update

June has brought a second wave of nests after many were lost to predation by ravens in late May. So far this month, we have gone from zero active snowy plover nests on the beach to ten. These new nests are expected to hatch during the first two weeks of July, provided they aren't predated. Fingers crossed, the ravens that decimated the earlier nests have moved on.

Below is a picture of our nest monitoring team determining the outcome of a nest that unexpectedly lost it's eggs. To determine if a nest has truly been predated, we look for predator prints around the nest, large pieces of broken shell, and coagulated egg contents. We also consider the timing of the eggs' disappearance. If it's less than four weeks after nest discovery and we do not find any young chicks or alarming adults in the vicinity, this is a strong indication the nest has failed.

Our biologists Kat and Rachel looking for evidence of predators at a failed nest, photo by Kristen McKenna
Evidence of predation: Left - predated nest scrape; Middle - egg fragment; right - predated plover egg. Photos Rachel Ameche

Sunny (left photo), our plover from Oregon, is one of the birds that renested last week after losing his eggs to ravens. Photos Rachel Ameche, Cynthia Hartley

Two week old plover chick, photographed on June 15, by Rachel Ameche

Consistent with the sudden loss of nests due to predators, we haven't seen as many plover chicks at the tideline this year compared to last year. However, some have made it through! Below is a photo Rachel captured of a 2-week-old chick on June 15. So far, we've seen about five snowy plover chicks reach the age of flight, which we report as successful fledglings. Although this number seems low, considering the small number of eggs that have hatched, it means that the chicks that have hatched are having relatively good survival rates.


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