Over the past several weeks, I’ve been watching a pair of snowy plovers raise their three chicks in the Little Estero Critical Wildlife Area. The parents have shown an amazing level of dedication and were somehow able to keep all three tiny chicks safe during Tropical Storm Colin. Since the chicks are up and running soon after hatching (precoccial) in order to find tiny morsels of insects/marine worms in the beach sand to eat, the parents tend to divide their attention among the chicks who often are running in all different directions. In many other cases, snowy plover chicks are lost to predation, so to raise all three thus far is quite a feat.
The snowy plover is a threatened species and the beaches of Fort Myers Beach provide critical nesting habitat for this species as well as Wilson’s plovers, least terns, black skimmers and American oystercatchers. I hope it will always be a place they can call home and raise their family.
Photos by Penny Jarrett
2: The male snowy plover keeps a watchful eye out for threats as he tends his three chicks.