Snowy Plover Patrol
North Coast | April – July
COVID-19 Update: ALL field surveys are on hold until the “Stay Home Stay Safe” Executive Order is lifted or Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) reopens parks. We hope that in May we can resume field surveys, but nothing is certain at this point. We are offering two virtual trainings: April 17 & 18, and April 25 & 26.
The Pacific coast population of Western Snowy Plovers has been in decline for several decades due to loss of habitat and disturbances from development, recreation, and other human pressures. In Oregon, the population hit a low of about 50 individuals in the early 1990s. Subsequently this species was listed as threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act in 1993. Due to targeted recovery efforts in Oregon, mostly focused on the south and central coast, the bird has bounced back to about 500 individuals although still a small, vulnerable population. Snowy Plovers are still largely absent at most traditional north coast nesting sites.
This project aims to engage local communities to help track where plovers are and how they are doing on the north coast as other management occurs, offering an opportunity to engage the public to help protect this small bird.
Partners: Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Audubon Society of Lincoln City, Friends of Netarts Bay, Friends of Cape Falcon
About the Survey
- Survey Instructions: Please read protocol and attend training for detailed instructions on how to conduct the survey.
- When: This project runs from April through July includes two surveys per month for plover detection surveys and weekly nest monitoring (if nests are found).
- Where: The survey is conducted at five sites on Oregon’s north coast: Clatsop Spit, Gearhart (Necanicum River Mouth), Nehalem, Netarts Spit, and South Sand Lake Spit (Sitka Sedge State Natural Area). You can do the survey alone or with 1 or 2 others.
- Time Commitment: At least a few surveys per season – we can work with you on scheduling. Surveys take approximately 4 hours depending on the site.
- Reporting: Completed data forms provided to project leaders after the survey.
- Trainings: Two trainings are offered in April and are typically held at Nehalem Bay State Park. Since this is an endangered species you MUST attend a training to get on the permit and be approved by plover biologist. Sometimes additional training dates can be made available.
- Birding skills: Must be able to visually identify Snowy Plovers – this is covered in the training.
- Equipment: Must have your own binoculars. We highly recommend using a spotting scope. If you do not have binocular or a spotting scope we do have some available to borrow.
- Field conditions: Detection surveys can be physically demanding – walking several miles on sandy beaches.
- Transportation to and from the site is your responsibility.