Details Make a Difference for Snowy Plover Patients

Oiled Western Snowy Plover in care after rescue at the October 2021 pipeline spill in Huntington Beach, CA. Photo: OWCN-UC Davis

Dear Friend and Supporter,

In the midst of this spill you may have heard about the plight of the federally threatened Western Snowy Plovers affected by oil.

Seven oiled Snowy Plovers have been recovered from the affected area in Orange County.

The Pacific Coast population of Western Snowy Plovers has been in decline for several years due to a loss of habitat and human disturbance. These tiny shorebirds live, forage, nest, and raise their young on the shoreline – making them particularly vulnerable as oil washes ashore.

Bird Rescue has years of hands-on experience caring for this threatened species.

Earlier patient: Western Snowy Plover was hatched from an egg during summer of 2021. Photo: Cheryl Reynolds – International Bird Rescue

This summer, three abandoned Western Snowy Plover eggs arrived at Bird Rescue, near hatching. Faint tapping from within told us the chicks were alive and trying to hatch. They were dehydrated and weak from being exposed too long in the hot summer sun. We placed the eggs in our incubator, and found a way to hydrate them using a dropper while they were still inside the shell. The chicks were able to rally the strength to hatch. Under the care of our clinic staff, they grew strong. Less than a month later, we received three more orphaned chicks to raise. All six of these threatened shorebirds were released back to the wild.

Based on this experience, we have learned that it is the little things that can make all the difference for plovers. We picked up some tricks – like presenting shorebird food in natural looking platters and piping in the sounds of ocean waves lapping against the shore – to create a comfortable environment for them to heal.

Thank you for being a part of our legacy of rescuing wildlife in crisis.

No matter what the need, with your support, Bird Rescue will be there to respond.

With gratitude,