Dear PiPl Friends,
Based on preliminary data from Mass Wildlife’s Endangered Species and Natural Heritage Program, approximately 1,145 pairs of Piping Plovers nested on Massachusetts beaches in 2023. This number is remarkable considering that when conservationists first began monitoring PiPls on Massachusetts beaches, there were fewer than 200 pairs. Because of the dedicated work of coastal waterbird conservation partners, volunteers, and regular beach going citizens, who all care deeply about the fate of these vulnerable little shorebirds, 50 percent of the Atlantic seaboard Piping Plover population now nests on Massachusetts beaches.
The short features two PiPl chicks and Dad Plover crossing handicap mats. The blue roll-out accessibility Mobi-mats have been installed at a number of Massachusetts beaches. They are wonderfully helpful for accessing the beach for wheel-chair bound people, and for families with baby strollers and wagons. I wondered how the Plovers would react. After a few moments of hesitation, our little Plover friends appeared unafraid, striding confidently across, and even stopping to investigate a bug.
The footage is from the forthcoming film, The Piping Plovers of Moonlight Bay. We are finessing, finessing, and finessing. With each edit, the film grows stronger. I am so proud of the work we have accomplished so far and in January we will begin submitting to film festivals!
Although Piping Plovers are slowly returning to the shores of Massachusetts, the Atlantic Coast Plover population as a whole remains at tremendous risk. Climate change, loss of habitat, vandalism, and predation are the primary challenges impeding the birds’ recovery. These same challenges are affecting not only Piping Plovers, but nesting shorebirds from coast to coast. I am thinking about the Western Snowy Plover, a closely related species that nests along the coast of California. Our documentary features the conservation policies and protocols of Massachusetts organizations. Whether a beachgoer recreating on the Atlantic Coast, shores of the Great Lakes, or Pacific Coast, The Piping Plovers of Moonlight Bay will be tremendously valuable in helping communities better understand why these protocols are in place, precisely how the policies help Plovers, and how we can collectively, and individually, help plover species recover nationwide. And, I think too, you will be smitten by the loveable Plover family featured in our film.
Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to our online fundraiser to help complete our documentary. Filming is finished, however, post-production and festival costs have sky-rocketed; they are much greater than when we released our sister film project about species at risk, Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly. Working with the community to produce Beauty on the Wing was by far the most meaningful way to launch a film and we could not have done it without your help.
Feel free to call or write with any questions. We are deeply appreciative of any gifts given. Thank you.
With gratitude to the following PiPl friends for their kind contributions – Alice and David Gardner (Beverly), JoeAnn Hart (Gloucester), Kim Tieger (Manchester), Joanne Hurd (Gloucester), Holly Niperus (Phoenix), Bill Girolamo (Melrose), Claudia Bermudez (Gloucester), Paula and Alexa Niziak (Rockport), Todd Pover (Springfield), Cynthia Dunn (Gloucester), Nancy Mattern (Albuquerque), Sally Jackson (Gloucester), Marion Frost (Ipswich), Cecile Christianson (Peabody), Donna Poirier Connerty (Gloucester), Mary Rhinelander (Gloucester), Jane Hazzard (Georgetown), and my sweet husband Tom 🙂 Thank you so very much for your support and for seeing the tender beauty in the life story of the Piping Plover.
Very best wishes,