PIPL

PIPL

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Monitoring Continues

As we move into August we are continuing our monitoring for our endangered waterbirds across the Connecticut coast. As always, please keep your safety in mind at all times. We have had very hot and humid conditions, dangerous for humans, often in the past several weeks. Today we are on our second tropical storm of the season, too! There are often times where we want to postpone or cancel monitoring due to weather like this, and that is perfectly fine.

Our varied breeding conditions continue across Connecticut with young birds and migrants moving through. We are also peaking shorebird migration for the arctic nesting species. We are slowly removing fencing and signage at various sites, and all of it will be completed by staff this year due to COVID-19.

Severe thunderstorms passing by Stratford Point in July - our birds face various threats 24 hours a day

It's very important to collect negative data and know that birds are not present and not nesting in some cases. We always want to keep an eye on any birds there that have nested or attempted to. As mentioned, we are at the time of year where some young are dispersing, and other adults are already heading south. We want to make sure we see these birds at all locations if they show up. Quieter beaches can be a spot where they pass through in migration from Connecticut and even other states.

Some may be flagged or banded, too, an always exciting sight. That goes for Piping Plover, Least Tern, American Oystercatcher, and Common Tern. We want to keep tracking all that happens at the beach with people, especially in such a busy year for the outdoors. In short, all of your observations are vital, and please keep submitting them through the end of August at your beaches. Even if you have no sightings - negative data - it is important to know and record this.

Thank you! Be well and stay safe.

Scott Kruitbosch
AAfCW Volunteer Coordinator
RTPI Manager of Connecticut Programs

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Caution at the Shore

Good afternoon, all!

We continue to have a mix of nesting birds, migrant and dispersing birds. Please remember to keep an eye out for flagged/banded birds including Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, and terns such as the Roseate Tern. You can report any and all via email to us including Laura Saucier (Laura.Saucier@ct.gov) and Rebecca Foster (rsuzf@hotmail.com) of CT DEEP plus us at AAfCW (ctwaterbirds@gmail.com).

Our beaches and offshore islands have had a very different type of year in 2020 due to COVID-19. A few areas have been quieter due to restrictions on visitation. Unfortunately, most have had a more difficult time with increased numbers of visitors including beachgoers, photographers, birders, boaters, and so on, with many of all groups disturbing birds at critical times, causing losses of nests and young. We have done a lot of work behind the scenes and publicly to help educate and inform everyone on how important basic precautions are for our nesting endangered species. 

However, it is certainly best to keep in mind that we want to minimize these disturbances for the rest of 2020, too. For example, we do not require egg counts on nests. If you hear birds calling in alarm, have terns dive bombing you, see a broken wing display, you or others are too close and should carefully move back towards the waterline and out of the area. We do not want to disclose exact nesting locations to the public we may encounter, or broadcast what birds are on what beaches via Facebook, email, forums, text lists, or other widespread media. Certain species, nests and young are very enticing targets for photographers and birders that may become a disturbance in themselves.

This is why we have worked to limit posting these birds in terms of specifics in our media, on mediums like Facebook, and are not putting out detailed nesting locations and counts at the moment. This dynamic continues to change every year, and the growing power of social media, more affordable and accessible equipment, and so forth helps drive more people to the shore, especially during a pandemic. Please do not post or email data and information we collect until later in the year when the nesting season is concluded, and please keep in mind we as volunteers, staff, and caring bird lovers are a potential disturbance at all times, too.

Keep an eye on the heat and the potential thunderstorms this week and throughout the rest of July and August. Thank you, and stay safe!

Monday, July 20, 2020

Roseate Tern Bands

Here is a request for birders to make an effort to read the 3-character "field-readable" codes on the bands of any terns they come across - but especially Roseate Terns:

Researchers really would like to know the identities and ages of the individuals that are being seen at that time of year that far away from the breeding colony sites at Falkner Island and Great Gull Island. Research on Cape Cod suggests that there are many more young nonbreeding 2- and 3-year-olds than we once suspected that are coming back to North America each year that are either not visiting at all, or only spending a little time at the colony sites.

Also, this past winter researchers had Pedro Lima put about 500 yellow field readable tags on ROSTs wintering in Brazil and would like to know how many of them show up in North America this year.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

2020 Breeding Conditions and Negative Data

Good afternoon, all!

We wanted to remind you of a few things as we enter mid-July. First and foremost, please keep your safety in mind at all times. This includes staying home in very hot and/or humid conditions with the temperature or heat index in the 90s. Also stay home if you feel it is going to be inclement weather at any time during your monitoring - thunderstorms, rain or strong wind. This helps protect our birds, too.

Secondly, we have a very large mix of breeding conditions across Connecticut. It includes nests being created right now and other young who have fledged with adults heading south for "fall" migration. Remember that fencing is always removed as soon as possible once nests have hatched and it is likely there will be no additional nesting attempts made by our birds. The birds do not "use nests" like songbirds in our yards do for their young. 

As you can imagine, towns and private landowners, parks and etc. want as much of the beach open as possible. That does not change anything when it comes to our monitoring, though, as we will still be visiting these areas with or without fencing. It's very important to collect negative data and know that birds are not present and not nesting in some cases. We always want to keep an eye on any birds there that have nested or attempted to.

As mentioned, we are at the time of year where some young are dispersing, and other adults are already heading south (despite the fact other re-nesting birds have nests with eggs now). We want to make sure we see these birds at all locations if they show up. Quieter beaches can be a spot where they pass through in migration from Connecticut and even other states. Some may be flagged or banded, too, an always exciting sight.

That goes for Piping Plover, Least Tern, American Oystercatcher, and Common Tern. Even beyond that, we want to be watching for our other shorebirds and terns as much as possible, and generally knowing all that happens at the beach with people. In short, all of your observations are vital, and please keep submitting them through the end of August at your beaches. Even if you have no sightings - negative data - it is important to know and record this.

Thanks again for all your hard work!

Monday, July 13, 2020

Dog Disturbances

This photo is an example of something I know everyone reading this already knows, but it's a great reminder for our friends, family, and neighbors. It was taken at Bluff Point earlier this month by one of our field staff. I do not think it needs a caption!


We love dogs, and many of our staff members have fur kids at home. They are a part of our family and often quite literally our best friends. However, when it comes to beach season, most municipalities, parks, and private land owners do not allow them on Connecticut beaches by law. Nearly all also request dogs be on a short leash and under control in any and every season, at all times, if they are not outright banned. This is largely for public health and safety.

When it comes to our birds, some beaches specifically note that beach-nesting species can be threatened or killed by even the most careful, kind, and cautious dogs (that may step on a nest or hatchling). Birds view every dog as a vicious predator that wants to eat their eggs, young, and try to destroy the adults. It takes their energy and time to respond to these threats, and young may be killed in the process or by other predators or people later on. We have all heard stories or dogs catching young birds as well, or stepping on nests. This is a good example of a disturbance we want (safely) reported to us. Thank you for helping keep the beach safe for all.

Scott Kruitbosch
AAfCW Volunteer Coordinator
RTPI Manager of Connecticut Programs