Two pairs of threatened Western snowy plovers nested and successfully fledged four chicks in the 12.4-acre protected area at Huntington State Beach, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
State park biologists found a pair of adult plovers with two chicks in May during routine monitoring for the shorebirds. Two days later, a group of students participating in a beach cleanup found a second plover nest.
Biologists this week reported that all three chicks from the second nest had feathers large enough to fly. One chick from the first nest also fledged.
“Huntington State Beach has not seen this type of Western snowy plovers activity in many years,” Todd Lewis, Orange Coast District superintendent for California State Parks, said in a statement. “The hard work of our natural resource management team and volunteer docents is paying off.”
Biologists and volunteers from the Irvine-based Sea & Sage Audubon Society will continue monitoring the birds.
The federal government classifies Western snowy plovers as threatened because of a loss of habitat and breeding sites caused by human activity and invasive non-native plants.
The Fish and Wildlife Service recommends that beach users help the birds by placing all trash in designated containers to help limit predators and that visitors limit disturbances near the protected area at Huntington State Beach.
In April, the Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach reported positive results with new equipment for a program designed to nurse abandoned snowy plover eggs and release the birds into nature once hatched.