A nesting piping plover.

A nesting piping plover.

Prince Edward Island National Park officials are pleased with the number of endangered piping plovers chicks hatched this year.

A new island and a good breeding season will provide a safe home for the birds in the next few years.

Fifteen chicks were able to survive in the park. That's about two babies per pair, which is double the normal number.

"The long stretch of warm weather that we've had here in P.E.I. has been really great for the piping plovers," said Jennifer Stewart, who works at the park. "And we do know that during periods of inclement weather the piping plovers chicks are stressed and they do not have as much time to forage, to gain weight as they normally would."

Fewer predators on new Island

Park officials say a new island near Blooming Point will provide a safe nesting area in the future.

It was created last winter when a storm blew out part of the peninsula. The strong current that separates it from Blooming Point makes it difficult for tourists to explore.

"Species like piping plovers and terns will be likely less disturbed by predators such as foxes and raccoons," said Darla Saunders, a scientist with Parks Canada. "And the creation of a new island also has created more shoreline habitat. So, for birds that feed along the shoreline, there's a greater area to forage there."

But, Saunders says piping plover numbers could rise even more next year if the birds start nesting on the new island.

External Links

Parks Canada piping plover factsheet