In addition to asking people to maintain proper social distancing in the outdoors, and to adhere to state park capacity limits and closures where encountered, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is reminding visitors to state parks to maintain a safe distance from the wildlife that call those parks home.
As the weather warms up, DEEP is urging any visitors to state beaches to keep their distance from beach nesting birds such as the state-and-federally-threatened piping plover. Piping plovers are currently returning to our state’s beaches to establish nesting areas in the very places where some residents may be going to engage in solitary, passive outdoor recreation.
Piping plovers have always practiced their own version of social distancing. Disturbance from people and dogs at beach nesting areas can prevent plovers from finding mates and establishing nesting territories and may lead to nest abandonment or the loss of eggs and death of chicks.
By following some specific steps offered by biologists in DEEP’s Wildlife Division, we can enjoy the beach, share it with beach-nesting birds, and help ensure both visitors and birds are safe.
Follow guidance on signs and respect all areas fenced or posted for protection of wildlife. Your actions can also benefit least and common terns, American oystercatchers, and other wildlife.
Consider leaving dogs at home when visiting beaches. Even good dogs on a leash scare piping plovers. No matter the age or size, all dogs are viewed as predators to shorebirds and cause them to panic. Stressed shorebirds are unable to feed, rest, or raise families successfully.
Dogs are not allowed at many beach areas during the bird nesting season. These areas include but are not limited to: Long Beach in Stratford, Pleasure Beach in Bridgeport, Silver Sands State Park and Milford Point in Milford, Sherwood