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DNREC announces successful piping plover nesting season

LEWES – The data is in, and DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife is reporting a successful nesting season for piping plovers in Delaware, with an all-time high number of 16 breeding pairs producing 36 fledglings. Four pairs of piping plovers nested at the Point at Cape Henlopen State Park, and 12 pairs nested at Fowler Beach at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, a relatively new breeding site that was first used by nesting piping plovers in 2016 following a habitat restoration project.

For the second year in a row, piping plovers did not nest at Gordons Pond within Cape Henlopen State Park, possibly due to the combined factors of encroaching vegetation limiting sandy nesting habitat and the availability of more attractive nesting habitat at Fowler Beach.

The piping plover is a federally-listed threatened species and a state-listed endangered species in Delaware. Species recovery involves partnerships between DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife and Division of Parks & Recreation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In other beachnesting bird updates, one pair of American oystercatchers successfully hatched and fledged a single chick at the Point at Cape Henlopen State Park. No least terns were found nesting at Cape Henlopen State Park this year for the first time since the state began monitoring least tern nesting in 2006.

For additional information on piping plovers or other beachnesting birds, please call Audrey DeRose-Wilson with the Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Species Conservation and Research Program at 302-735-3600.