Trends in Piping Plover Reproduction at Jones Beach State Park, NY, 1995–2007

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We evaluated thirteen years (1995–2007) of Charadrius melodus (Piping Plover) nesting activity at Jones Beach State Park (JBSP) to examine temporal trends in the number of pairs, productivity, total young produced per year, and nest initiation. The number of plover pairs has decreased over time at JBSP, while productivity (and total number of young produced per year) has increased. Productivity has increased more at JBSP compared to other areas in their range. In addition, nest initiation was significantly later in the nesting season in recent years. Increased productivity indicates that management efforts to increase this population parameter may have had a positive effect on nesting plovers. The decreased numbers of nesting pairs, however, suggests that management techniques to increase numbers of breeding pairs, such as nesting-habitat restoration, may also be necessary to increase local population size. In the absence of suitable nesting habitat for recruitment of locally fledged birds, JBSP may be functioning as a “source” for other regional breeding populations.