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An update on our nesting Piping Plovers from David Bree, Sr. Natural Heritage Education Leader, Presqu’ile Provincial Park.

On Friday, June 3rd, a full clutch of 4 eggs had been laid and a large predator deterrent cage was placed over the nest, replacing the small cage used when the eggs are being laid over a period of a week. This was carried out by a team of 6 people from CWS, MNRF and Ontario Parks.

This maneuver, requiring the pounding in of corner posts and essentially building the cage on site, took 20 minutes, which is the standard allowed time. The female did show some anxiety, trying a few broken wing displays and circling the nest piping away. This protection technique has been used in the U.S. and elsewhere in Canada since 1984 and results in an increase of hatching success of almost 100% going from 37% to 72% hatching success in studies from the states.

She accepted the new structure easily and was back on the nest within seconds of us stepping away from the cage. The male, who seemed much less distressed, took his turn on the nest after about 1⁄2 hour so both birds indicated they accepted the new situation.

The eggs are projected to hatch around June 28th. We are also looking to provide a couple of chick shelters on the beach to protect the chicks in case of inclement weather like hail, which killed chicks in Wasaga a few years ago.

We will also be looking to form a “guardian” group to watch over the babies and inform visitors that walk past what is going on. I am anticipating shifts of at least 4 hours in length, possibly longer. Priority will be to have people out there on the weekends, particularly the July and August long weekends.  I anticipate the birds will be gone by mid – late August. We will work to get some shaded structure out there for people.

There may be an actual guardian coordinator hired to organize volunteers but I suspect that money will not come through in time. In any event I would like to start gathering names of those that would be willing to commit to be guardians. Please pass that news around and have people send me their names with dates and times available.

Thank you for your interest.

David Bree

Contact: Phone 613-475-4324 ext 225; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.