Oregon Protects Snowy Plover Nesting Areas

Mar 26, 2019

In an effort to protect the Western Snowy Plover, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is roping off nesting areas along the Oregon Coast through mid-September.

Snowy Plover birds in their nest on the beach at Nehalem Bay.
Credit Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

The Western Snowy Plover – a small shorebird that resembles a sandpiper – has been a federally threatened species since 1993.

Instead of making traditional nests, the Snowy Plover scrapes out dry sand and lays the eggs on top. When the bird perceives a threat, it will run to draw attention away from the chicks.

Lisa Romano of the Siuslaw National Forest says this leaves the chicks vulnerable to the elements and also tires out the adults.

Snowy Plover eggs resting on top of the sand.
Credit Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

“It’s hard to believe, but it uses up a lot of their energy to run off the nest and run back when they’re trying to conserve that energy to keep their chicks and eggs warm.”

To help the birds thrive, Romano encourages beachgoers to observe the signs in nesting areas and only walk on the wet part of the sand. She also says to leave dogs and disruptive beach toys like drones and quads at home.