Friday, August 7, 2015

Piping plover parent with chick underwing, Sandy Point State Reservation

Wildlife Photography by Pat Ulrich: Plovers &emdash; Plover parent with one chick under its wing

Another interesting tidbit I came across while reading up on piping plovers recently, in addition to what I posted yesterday about plover chicks being entirely responsible for feeding themselves, is related to the role of the parents. While both the male and female share responsibility for incubating the nest, it is relatively common for the female to abandon the brood within a week of the chicks hatching. That leaves the male in charge of protecting the chicks until they fledge a few weeks later. I'm not sure if this is a male or female parent, but there is a very young chick tucked under its left wing. You can see a tiny leg sticking out and the top of its downy head under the popped-up feathers.

View more photographs of plovers


6 comments:

  1. Interesting breeding strategy - I wonder why its different to other waders.

    Great shot as ever!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. Thanks, Stewart! I've wondered the same. I thought perhaps the female would attempt to mate again or something, but I read that they typically only nest once (unless the eggs fail). Very interesting species for sure.

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  2. Piping plovers are scarce here in Ontario and on my list of birds I want to see and photograph soon.

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    1. They are officially a threatened species here in Massachusetts. There are a number of beaches around where they are able to successfully breed in the area, and while some close completely during the breeding season a few allow public access outside of the roped off breeding area. Plum Island is interesting in that the federally managed beaches are closed to all access for the summer while the adjacent state managed beach allows public access (where this photo was taken).

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  3. I never would have noticed the youngster if you hadn't mentioned it. Being inland like we are we don't see many shore birds unless it's around one of our larger lakes.

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    1. Watching this behavior and interaction between the parent and chicks is a lot of fun. Often, you can just barely see some body part of the chick sticking out as it warms. And bummer about the shorebirds in your locale -- they are my absolutely favorite subject to photograph!

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