It's always inspiring and poignant to witness an endangered species in its natural habitat. Kim Toews and I have had a once-in-a-lifetime experience of discovering an endangered species. Without question, the Piping Plover is one of the most glorious birds and worthy of every conservation effort.
On the afternoon of May 13, 2007, Kim and I discovered a pair of Piping Plovers nesting at Sauble Beach, Ontario. June 6, 2008, we co-discovered a nesting pair of Piping Plovers at Oliphant, Ontario. It was my initial identification and reportage of these birds that lead to the subsequent actions taken to protect and monitor these two successful nestings. The 2007 Sauble Beach Piping Plover record represents the first nesting of the Piping Plovers on the Canadian shore of the Great Lakes since 1977. It also marks the first nest record in Bruce County since 1972. This record also involves the only pair of Piping Plovers known to nest successfully anywhere in Ontario in 2007. I have been an enthusiastic, skilled and dedicated volunteer monitor, observer and photographer of the Piping Plovers.
The endangered Piping Plovers are beginning to establish themselves in Ontario, and I have thousands of excellent photographs that are a valuable chronicle of their amazing comeback. My images provide a wide spectrum of the Piping Plover behaviours.
The survival of endangered and threatened species is important work. An estimated 2,500 pairs of Piping Plovers remain. Their survival is tenuous. Loss of shoreline habitat; plundering of their nests by predators; climate change and rising sea levels also increase the risk of their survival; catastrophic environmental impacts, such as the 2010 Gulf oil spill further threaten survival of the Piping Plover. And nothing but a conservation miracle is likely to save them from extinction.
Consider donating to your favourite endangered species program to help with protection, research, habitat restoration, public education and training programs. Help endangered and threatened species fight extinction and ultimately be delisted.
© Brendan Toews Photography