INJURED PIPING PLOVER UPDATE #2

4:20pm Update:
Catherine, George, and Charles drove our littlest chick to the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts. Thanks to Jodi, they were prepared and waiting for him. Little chick was assigned a case number and we were told to call after 3pm. As I am writing this report, Avery from the school just returned my phone call. She sounds terrific and was very helpful in explaining little chick’s injury and care. He has a traumatic brain injury, most likely caused by being stepped on. Little chick is being given supportive care, which includes pain medication, an anti-inflammatory, and fluids. He is also in an oxygen cage that allows him to breathe more easily. The vets are guarded in their prognosis as recovery from head trauma is very unpredictable.

Very sadly, I have to report that dogs were running around the beach unleashed at the time of the injury. No one witnessed exactly what happened, but last year I saw a dog running over and instantly killing a chick, despite my very best efforts to get the owner to control his dog. This morning at 6am dogs were on the beach leashed, but the owner was obliviously walking her two dogs through the sanctuary area precisely where the chicks were darting about. Leashed or unleashed, irresponsible dog owners are one of the chick’s greatest threats. Please, please folks tell your friends and neighbors about the Plovers and why it is so important to follow the dog ordinances. It seems as though late in the day, after 5 and before sunset, the chicks are the most vulnerable. Perhaps folks think its okay to bring dogs to the beach after the life guards leave. Early evening is exactly the same time of day that the chick was killed last year.

Our two Good Harbor Beach siblings, this morning at fourteen days old.
Earlier this morning updates:
Catherine writes, “I called Kim who met me right away at the beach. Soon After 9pm Jodi was there getting the bird. Jodi implemented  ER incubator and hydration methods. By 11pm chick pooped which may be sign that he was reacting to rehydration. (She explained that body shuts down digestion quickly to protect brain and heart. Pooping could be things working.) One eye swollen may equal head injury or seizure. All was speculation and she hoped chick would make it through night.”
Volunteer Nancy, who found the chick wrote, “My daughter spotted the chick on the soft sand lying just off the wet sand of the creek bed near where we were this morning. My son in law carried the chick from creek bed to large enclosure. I held chick while giving it water and tried to keep it warm, then put it in the covered part of the enclosure on advice of Audubon woman, hoping its mom would be able to give care. We called every emergency number we could find but no one picked up. Thank you so much for responding as you did.”
Today at 6:15am–dog walking through the Plover’s sanctuary–leashed or unleashed, dogs (as well as people) unintentionally step on Plovers. Please be careful.

15 comments

  • Linda Carpenter

    Why aren’t police patrolling the beach. Dogs are not allowed!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  • I think you should show there face and they should be arrested to being on the beach illegally and they should pay the fine

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are people who don’t like the idea that we are trying to protect the Plovers, and I don’t want GMG to become a place where we are embarrassing folks. I have many photos and footage of dogs on the beach and only showed this one because there are people who are in denial that this is happening and that it is a real problem.

      Like

  • Last year the experts concluded that the chicks were most likely killed by other wildlife but that no one knew for sure what happened to them. Did you report that you actually witnessed the chick being killed by a dog? I agree that dogs should not be on beaches, but seeing a few dogs is no more proof that they hurt the chicks than seeing thousands of humans is proof that they did.

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    • Last year I filmed one chick carried off by a gull. This happened at approximately six pm, after many had left the beach and all their garbage behind. Both parents frantically flew at and after the gull but the baby was not seen again. The gulls and crows are only there in great numbers because of the garbage.

      The second chick was also killed in the early evening. I was filming the chicks down by the creek when an older man arrived with his cute and very energetic beagle. He was tossing the ball with one of those stick things along the creek shoreline, exactly where the chicks and parents were feeding. I approached the gentleman and asked him very kindly to please stop and tried to explain why. He was verbally abusive and was soon joined by a woman, with children, and I assume, her husband. The woman also started calling me super mean names. I turned to leave, the man threw the ball far down the creek, the beagle bounded after it and I ran to find the chicks to try to herd them away from where he was tossing the ball. I was not fast enough. The beagle ran over the chick and it died instantly.

      I now carry with me at all times my cell phone when on the beach. I blame myself because if I had my phone with me, I could have stayed with the chicks and called the police and animal control officers.

      Several days later, the third and last remaining chick and Dad I last recorded heading deep into the creek area, and then they were not seen again.

      We are not seeing only a few dogs; the monitors are reporting daily dog sightings, leashed and unleashed.

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      • Hey, Kim,

        As a member of the Animal Advisory Committee here in Gloucester, I find all of this very concerning.

        If you haven’t already done so, would you please turn your footage and pictures from this year and last year over to the Animal Control Officers so that they can pursue the matter further?

        Thank you!

        Like

        • I have written many times and posted many photos over the past two summers about the dog and garbage issues at Good Harbor Beach in regards to how these problems are affecting the survival of the Piping Plover chicks and the overall health of our environment. And have been in contact many, many times with the animal control officers. They are well aware of the issue, and have explained how they would like the problem with scofflaws to be addressed, which is to call immediately and to record their license plate numbers. I have called and reported but it is often difficult to do so while also trying to keep the chicks from harm. I don’t believe there is anyone covering the early morning and late day hours.

          I am creating a documentary and am NOT a policewoman or spy, and will not be put in that position. It is the city’s responsibility to address the dog owners found on the beach, at all times of the day. Coyotes, gulls, and crows are without doubt in super abundance because of the hordes of trash found every single morning before the DPW arrives to clean up the mess. Anyone can come and see the crows feasting on the plethora of garbage every single morning at the footbridge at Nautilus Road in the very spot a trash barrel would typically be placed. Come to the beach at daybreak and see the harm that is being done to our environment, the sea of plastic strewn across the beach and shining in the early morning light, the wrappers, straws, food, food packaging, beverages, Red Solo cups, cans, nips, beach chairs and plastic pails that people buy for a day and then leave behind because it is too much trouble to take home.

          Thankfully, this summer there is a wonderful team of Piping Plover volunteers working along with our conservation agent Ken Whittaker and Greenbelt’s Dave Rimmer. The volunteers and Ken and Dave though have no more control over the underlying dog owner, gull, crow, and trash problems than do I.

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  • Why blur the face of the person walking the two dogs Illegally on the beach when she is breaking the law?

    Liked by 1 person

    • My hope is that by sharing information about the Piping Plovers our beach goers will gain a deeper understanding of these beautiful, and unfortunately, endangered birds. I do not want to shame anyone and think that the more people learn, the more they will grow to love and respect our local wildlife and their habitats.

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  • How unfortunate for the little chick. Is it really that difficult to control your own dog? There is souch coverage about these piping plovers. How can anyone not know about them? I’m annoyed by the insensitive, ignorant dog owner. Dogs are dogs. They’re just dogs. They don’t know if it’s a rare bird or a pile of another dog’s poop. They WILL step in it. The dog owner should be found and targeted with a fine. Simple. What does it do for the bird? Nothing. All the effort to protect these cute, silly, little things and a fellow human mucked it up.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Kim—My laptop is acting up, sometimes working & sometimes not, & all I could think of was how the chicks are doing. Around 7:30 Wed. evening my niece saw a hawk flying from the footbridge, then over the S&S bridge. Who knows. You are doing a great service with all your environmental coverage. Courage!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Maybe if the people are told the beach stickers and parking price will go up if it is going to take more time for the DPW to clean up after the people. Maybe not open the beach until , say, 11AM, because of the filth left behind on the beach. Sad to not take care of their play area. It would keep the gulls away and what ever critters that come for garbage.

    Like

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