Posted on April 10, 2017 by Neil Ungerleider

Piping Plover

Photo by Mdf, CC BY-SA 3.0

Whether you call them PLUH-vers or PLOV-ers, the Piping Plover has seen a strong resurgence in Massachusetts.

In 1986, there were only 140 breeding pairs of Piping Plovers in Massachusetts, according to Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs. Last year, there were more than 687 breeding pairs.

The Piping Plover has made such a comeback, that a new plan, announced last summer, allows towns to request relaxation of limits on beach activities that have been put in place to protect the endangered shorebirds and allow them to safely raise their chicks.

Though not welcome by all beach communities, the beach restrictions have had a dramatic impact on the shorebird’s numbers in the state, according to the Associated Press.

The small, sand-colored birds nest on coastal beaches from Cape Ann to Cape Cod.  Despite the resurgence, the global plover population is estimated as less than 10,000 adults, less than the number of people who might crowd a beach on a summer afternoon.

The plan opens the door for requests to eliminate some fencing, move nests that are in parking lots and to access some roads and allow vehicles that have been banned near some nesting areas to return on some beaches.

Such requests require state approval and vehicles still would have to be escorted and towns would have to employ a monitor to watch the shorebirds as the vehicle passes.

By the way, PLUH-ver or PLOV-er are both considered correct pronunciations, though PLUH-ver is more commonly used.

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