NYC Volunteers Patrol Beaches Over Holiday Weekend to Protect Endangered Bird – NBC New York (47)

The 4th of July weekend welcomes thousands of tri-state beachgoers looking to kick back and relax on the beaches.

While residents enjoy the waves or soak up the sun, a group of New York City volunteers carefully patrol the dunes to protect an endangered resident: the small migratory shorebird called the Piping Plover.

“Most New Yorkers probably don’t know, most people don’t know, that fewer than 100 Piping Plovers come to New York City each year, and they’re part of a global population of six to eight thousand,” he said. Chris Allieri, founder of NYC Plover Projectto our sister chain NBC New York.

Allieri is a Brooklyn resident who launched the nonprofit organization NYC Plover Project in 2021 after taking his own photo series capturing 100 birds in 100 days the year before. During that time, he got up close and personal with the Piping Plover and did more research on this endangered species.

The Piping Plover is considered an endangered species in New York state and is federally threatened, according to the New York City Parks Department. In spring, plovers arrive at breeding grounds in New York City and stay awake until late summer before migrating south for the winter.

These plump, sparrow-sized birds can be five to seven inches long and feed on coastal invertebrates such as insects and crustaceans.

At the beaches of Jacob Riis Park, Fort Tilden and Breezy Point Tip, volunteers from the NYC Plover Project They work diligently to clean up trash and monitor cordoned off areas designated for plovers nesting.

NBC New York toured Jacob Riis Beach with the group, who pointed out some of the items harmful to wildlife collected that morning, including a hat, masks, hand sanitizer and old fishing bags.

“You see three different rope lines coming up the beach. The furthest was the initial one, but that plover nested very close to that initial rope line. It’s just a symbolic fence, but people go up and the bird freaks out a little bit, leaves the nest and stops incubating,” he told News 4 Dave Treviño, manager of the Natural Resources Program at Gateway National Recreation Area.

While the dunes may be cut off by three different levels of ropes, it is to ensure that this area is safe for plovers and other resident wildlife. Allieri, along with dozens of volunteers, will be specially patrolling these Queens beaches over the 4th of July weekend with a message to New Yorkers to be aware of their surroundings.

“For us, it’s about staying out of these cordoned off areas, what you carry in your hand, no kites, no drones, no fireworks, no dogs, but have fun. You can do all of this, and here’s the thing, right?” it’s much more interesting to go to a beach where you can see how these species thrive and survive,” Allieri said.

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