Volunteers needed to monitor beach-nesting birds

LEWES — People who want to help protect Delaware’s endangered piping plovers and other beach-nesting birds can do so by volunteering for DNREC’s monitoring team.

“With the strong storms that hit Delaware’s beaches over the winter, a lot of new habitat for beach-nesting birds has opened up,” said wildlife biologist Matthew Bailey of the Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Beachnester Monitoring Program.

“It will be more important than ever that we have volunteer assistance in protecting their nesting habitat so that they can take full advantage of this opportunity to further increase their populations.”

Volunteers on the monitoring team are invited to a training session that will be held from 10 a.m. to noon May 14 at Cape Henlopen State Park’s Biden Environmental Training Center at 15099 Cape Henlopen Drive.

The training session will begin with a slide show followed by a discussion on the monitoring program and how volunteers can help to ensure that beach-nesting shorebirds are not disturbed while rearing their chicks.

Weather permitting, the group will finish the session by venturing out to the Point at Cape Henlopen to look for piping plovers and other shorebirds likely to be feeding on the tidal flats. Birding scopes and binoculars will be available for use, but volunteers are encouraged to bring their own optics if they have them.

“Volunteers are critical to our protection efforts. When stationed at the boundaries of the nesting areas, volunteers can help explain facts to passersby about the breeding birds and the importance of keeping closed areas free of human disturbance,” Mr. Bailey said.

“Without volunteers to supplement the coverage our staff provides, many people might never have the chance to better understand how humans can make a difference in the breeding success of beach-nesting birds.”

Preregistration for the training is encouraged, but attendees also will be accepted at the door. Park entrance fees will be waived for volunteers attending the training by notifying the fee booth attendant. For more information on the training, beach-nesting birds or monitoring efforts, contact Mr. Bailey at (302) 382-4151 or email matthew.bailey@state.de.us.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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