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Presentation in Cannon Beach Looks at Snowy Plover Along Oregon Coast

Published 12/12/22 at 11:15 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Presentation in Cannon Beach Looks at Snowy Plover Along Oregon Coast

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(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – Every second Wednesday of the month will take an informative turn on the Oregon coast from now through the spring. Cannon Beach's World of Haystack Rock Library Lecture Series 2022-2023 gets under way, put together by the Friends of Haystack Rock. These are recurring lectures with different speakers and topics related to the Oregon coast. (Photo courtesy Oregon State Parks)

This Wednesday (December 14) sees the second one, this time looking looking at “Snowy Plover Monitoring on the Northern Oregon Coast: A Community Science Perspective.” Guest speaker is Allison Anholt, Coastal Community Science Biologist for Portland Audubon. It starts at 7 p.m.

It will be held live in person and virtually via Facebook Live. You can attend the presentation at the Cannon Beach Library, 131 N. Hemlock St, Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Anholt will take a look at the current status of snowy plovers on this shoreline, why they are at risk across their habitat range, and what's being done now to monitor and protect these birds as they recolonize their historic range on Oregon's north coast – along with what is planned to for them in the future.

Every year, some parts of the Oregon coast are blocked off to some activity due to snowy plover nesting in the spring, efforts that are part of the rehabilitation of their population in the region. These particular spots are open to foot and equestrian traffic on the wet, packed sand, but other forms of recreation will not be allowed, such as walking your dog (even on leashes), driving any kind of vehicle, riding a bike, camping, flying kites or wood burning. Even drones will be prohibited.

These small birds nest along the open sand areas, and their nests and especially the young chicks blend in well with the background. Disturbances by humans can cause the parents to run away from nests, leaving the young exposed and untended to. They die easily this way, according to Oregon State Parks and Recreation.

Anholt is the Coastal Community Science Biologist for Portland Audubon, where she oversees community science monitoring projects for birds along the north coast, which means much more than just the adorable plover. Also under her “wing” - so to speak – are black oystercatchers and other local seabirds. Prior to coming onboard the Portland Audubon office, she worked at the intersection of coastal wildlife conservation and community science in the Aleutian Islands, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the Florida Everglades, and some of the busiest beaches in the country in Cape May, New Jersey.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed western snowy plovers as a threatened species in 1993, when officials counted only 55 breeding adults. The numbers of breeding adults have steadily increased since then, from 107 in 2003 to 604 in 2021.

Upcoming Talks:

January 11th: Dr. Lindsay Aylesworth, Ecological Research Project Leader, ODFW Marine Reserves Program. Title: “10th Anniversary of Oregon’s Marine Reserves: What we have learned?”

February 8th Mitchelle St Martin. Title: Reintroduction of Sea Otters to the Oregon Coast

March 8th Josh McInnes. Title: “Transient Killer Whales of the Outer Coast of Oregon and California”

April 8th Roy Lowe. Title: “Monitoring Migratory Birds in Lincoln County, Oregon Through Citizen Science”


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Plover photos above courtesy Oregon State Parks

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