Threatened Bird Makes Sudden Reappearance On LA Beaches

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A western snowy plover nest and eggs on Santa Monica State Beach. April 27, 2017. (Chris Dellith/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) – A small, rare shorebird that has not been seen on the Los Angeles coastline for 68 years is suddenly back in the region.

The western snowy plover has been discovered nesting on several Los Angeles County beaches since April, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported Monday.

Nests for the six-inch plover were found on Santa Monica Beach (April 18), Dockweiler State Beach (April 27) and Malibu Lagoon State Beach (April 27 and May 4). Biologists placed wire cages around the nests to keep them safe.

Prior to these discoveries, a western snowy plover had not been seen nesting in the county since 1949 in Manhattan Beach, USFWS said.

The plover’s worldwide population was estimated at 1,800 as of 2016. It is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

“This is a sign that, against all odds, western snowy plovers are making a comeback, and we really need the cooperation of beachgoers to help give them the space they need to nest and raise their young,” senior USFWS biologist Chris Dellith said in a statement.

The plover can be found from Baja California, Mexico, all the way to Washington state. Its nesting season runs from March to September. They lay their eggs in “small depressions” in beach sand, USFWS reports.

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