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Every year on the third Friday of May, the nation celebrates Endangered Species Day. This day is an opportunity to learn about the importance of protecting threatened and endangered species and their habitats. Here in the California Bay Area, a lucky birder has the chance to see the threatened Western Snowy Plover- a subspecies of the Snowy Plover found along the Pacific coast from Washington to Baja California. The population distinguishes itself by nesting adjacent to tidal waters of the Pacific Ocean where other Snowy Plovers nest further inland and migrate to coastal areas during winter months. This small shorebird is about 6 inches long with a short neck and moderately long, dark legs. A thin, dark bill is used to catch tiny crustaceans, mollusks, and marine worms along the shore. This plover has a pale brown back and head with a white belly, chest, neck stripe, forehead, and eyebrow line. Breeding adults have dark patches on the shoulders, behind the eyes, and above the white patch on the forehead. In sparsely vegetated areas above the high tide line, females will lay 3 eggs in a shallow depression in the sand after which they share incubation duties with males. As soon as her eggs hatch, a female leaves to renest with another male if possible. Just hours after hatching, chicks are up and out of the nest searching for food! Males will care for their chicks by leading them to feeding areas rather than bringing them food directly. Catching a glimpse of a Western Snowy Plover can be difficult, especially when human activities such as walking, jogging, off leash pets, horseback riding, and vehicle use on beaches, particularly during the nesting season (March – September), are key factors in the plover’s decline. Click here to learn more about Western Snowy Plover and what you can do to help its recovery!
This time of abundance and rich life is well-deserved and worthy of appreciating in all its glory.
The inspirational story of how dedicated community members and conservationists joined together to preserve habitat for wildlife.
Historic rain showers brought plenty of flowers this spring— millions, to be precise.
These pollinators may be small, but they are bee-yond important to the ecosystem.
A former camp counselor and Audubon Youth Leader's meditation on the gravity of her time at Richardson Bay and what it means to her today.
Coyotes play a crucial role in California's ecosystems, and despite growing tensions with these wild animals, it is in our favor — and theirs — to learn to live with them instead of eliminating them.
As the Bay teems with life, observing interactions between species is almost effortless.
With familiar faces joining new friends, winter at the Center has been prolific.