I was delighted to see the baby Pips again yesterday.
Tiny cotton ball puffs scoottling along the sand, with a watchful parent close by.
I think it’s their size that surprised me the most about these Plover hatchlings.
I knew they were small, but we’re talking small here!
These tiny rascals roll out of their nests within hours of hatching, and begin to forage for themselves almost immediately.
Surprisingly enough, although they are incubated by both parents it’s actually the female who leaves the babies first.
While Papa Piper sticks close, giving the young’uns peep-lo pointers, and warmth, along the way as they develop and eventually learn to fly.
But the odds are against them making it all the way to adulthood.
Even if they make it by the hatchling stage.
Natural predators abound, yes. But it’s human activity on beaches this time of year that is the biggest threat. Think frisbees, dogs running loose, heavy foot stomping, general noise levels; the adults abandon the eggs, eggs get damaged, etc.
Sadly, Piping Plovers now have a conservation status of, “threatened”.
I am hoping that sharing my photos of them will help make a difference.
So that maybe others will fall in love with them, too.
And we can all pull for them, watch out for them.