Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Piping Plovers, Purple Martins, and an Osprey


Upon arrival at their breeding grounds Piping Plovers establish a territory which encompasses a stretch of shoreline for feeding and  higher dry ground for nesting. 


A male entering an other's territory may provoke a threat display: lowering the head and fanning and puffing the feathers. This may last for a many minutes. Sometimes they engage in running in parallel along a disputed boundary.


I am guessing  this is a dispute between two males with a female looking on
  




At a distance a couple of downy chicks were running about without any adults close by.






Purple Martins



On the same beach in back of the dunes a Purple Martin colony with compartmentalized wooden houses and gourds had been set up. They had just begun building their nests and laying eggs. No young had yet been hatched. Both males and females may claim many compartments and defend them against competitors but relinquish most of them once they have settled on one for building their nest, keeping some as spare rooms. Since not all compartments in a house may be occupied, the male of a nesting pair often sleeps in an adjoining one.


Purple Martins are fierce defenders of their nests. They peck, bite and claw at any intruder who tries to enter. Males fight off other males and females other females. Violent battles may ensue if a competitor manages to get inside. The nest openings are crescent-shaped to keep out starlings who can't pass because of their larger sternums.










Osprey

On any suitable platform along the coast Osprey nests are ubiquitous and man-made detritus is also ubiquitous, below an iconic sign of our human presence, the plastic trash bag. 


Plastic waste such as bags, balloons, and other junk are often mistaken for food and fed to the chicks causing them to starve and die. It reminds us to be mindful of what we discard and pick up such items on the beach when we see them.


I have material for one more post on Cape May:  shorebirds. Until then, happy birding!




27 comments:

  1. i adore the plover chicks! we get the killdeer here too - striped cotton balls on toothpicks. :)

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  2. Wonderful photos, Hilde!! The Piping Plover chics are adorable!! It must have been so fun to watch those little ones running around! :-)

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  3. I see purple martin houses everywhere but NEVER any purple martins so I am insanely jealous! The piping plovers are on my wish list. :))

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  4. Wow Hilke great stuff!

    That's great documentation of the Piping Plovers, and some marvelous shots of the Martins too.

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  5. Nice captures!Have a great day!

    Shantana

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  6. Great purple martin shots!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  7. YOu took some great shots of the Purple Martins! I love the little Plover chicks too1

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  8. Beautiful images of all your birds... my favourite has to be the martins

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  9. Great photos. I especially like the series of the Piping Plover.

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  10. A lovely post, - perfect for WBW!

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  11. Very cute baby Plovers, and I really like the Martins.

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  12. Hilke, what wonderful birds you were able to see. I LOVE the plover chick and I did not know all of that about the martins! Great post!

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  13. The Plovers are so cute and I love the adorable chick. Wonderful birds from Cape May. It is a great place for birding.

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  14. great captures, each one, I'm liking the plovers especially

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  15. Nice shots! I love the post so much. These are amazing! These are cute birds. The Purple Martin looks so adventurous.

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  16. Thank you all for your comments! I should have added that I found the info about the birds' behavior from "Birds of North America Online"

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  17. Hi Hilke

    You got some wonderful photos and as always your comments were very helpful.

    Regards
    Guy

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  18. Piping plovers? Those are classic shots!!!
    Cheers Hilke!

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  19. Nice post Hilke! I always love seeing the young ins ... Hate seeing the trash...we all need to be more careful!

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  20. Beautiful photos and great post.

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  21. ouch, I lost my comment. :(

    I love all your photos. The photopgarphy is so good and the birds so lovely. Never seen plovers like that and the little chick is adorable. Thanks for sharing.

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  22. A long time since I saw Pipng Plover, nice to get reaquainted with them. Thanks.

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  23. Hi there - the purple martins are great. I also like almost any picture of an osprey because they are such a world bird - you see one today, I can see one tomorrow!

    Stewart M

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  24. Such dramatic views of those martins, and the plover series is wonderful!

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  25. Great series of the Piping Plovers and the Purple Martins Hilke! I love the display shots of the Plovers and the cuteness factor on the chicks is out of this world! How can you not be enamored with huge swallows like the Purple Martins. They're beautiful. So sad about the Osprey chicks being killed by foolish human disregard and laziness. I urge everyone to look at one of my favorite organization's post on plastic waste at International Bird Rescue.

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  26. We have a warning poster in Connecticut about the dangers of trash and fishing line can cause for Ospreys. It's a gruesome photo of an Osprey hanging from its nest by fishing line. I really like the photo of the Purple Martin perched on the stick.It almost looks like a Superhero.

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