Keep your distance: Snowy plovers will start breeding soon

PORTLAND, Ore. - Western snowy plovers - those little birds that scoot along the sand at the coast - will begin nesting soon and that means you'll need to steer clear and give them some space.

The birds are listed as threatened under the Oregon Endangered Species Act. Back in 1992 there were just 28 of them on the coast but thanks to a concerted effort to protect them, they now number around 350.

"The protection measures are really making a big difference," said Laura Todd with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Newport, Ore.

Western snowy plovers live mainly on the southern Oregon coast. This is a crucial time for them (their breeding season runs from mid-March through September).

Their nesting areas are marked by signs that tell you to keep out. You can also help protect the birds by:

  • Keeping your dog on a leash or leaving your pet at home
  • Removing litter from beaches to discourage predators
  • Not flying kites, which the birds can mistake for predators
  • Contacting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife if you find a plover nest in an unprotected area.