PHOTO: ALECIA SMITH
SHOREBIRD RECOVERY PROGRAM
There are two beaches in Ventura County, Ormond and Hollywood, that do not have an entity (such as CA State Parks or US Navy) responsible for Western Snowy Plover or California Least Tern species recovery.
In order to help these species, VAS has developed a Shorebird Recovery Program for Ormond and Hollywood beaches.
The California Least Tern (CLT), the smallest of the North American terns, arrive in April and nest in colonies on beaches near lagoons, estuaries, or harbors. They nest on barren or sparsely vegetated open beaches. After nesting season, they fly away to winter somewhere off the coast of Brazil. Scientists are still sorting out their migratory movements.
CALIFORNIA LEAST TERN
WESTERN SNOWY PLOVER
The Western Snowy Plover (WSP) uses Ventura County beaches year-round. In the winter they gather in loose flocks above the tide line to molt and recover from nesting season. From March - Sept, they spread out into territories, and establish nests in the dunes and raise their young. They may produce several nests throughout the long season.
Both species place their nests right on the sand in a shallow depression called a scrape. Their cryptically colored eggs blend in with the sand to avoid being seen by predators, hence they are very difficult for people to see. Chicks hatch covered in downy feathers and are flightless for several weeks, relying on their parents for protection and warmth. Soon after the chicks hatch, they leave the nest and began to search the beach for food.