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Conservation & Waterways News

Posted on: October 4, 2022

2022 Shorebird Season Wrap Up!

Black Skimmer with hatchlings

The Department of Conservation and Waterways once again hosted a successful shorebird breeding season on Town beaches. Beginning in March 2022, staff fenced off historical nesting areas with symbolic string and interpretive signage in preparation for our feathered friends' return, which occurred not too long after.  This year, a record 26 pairs of Piping Plover, a New York State Endangered Species, nested and fledged 24 chicks for a productivity of 0.92 chicks/pair. Over 60 pairs of American Oystercatchers nested, many successful in fledging chicks, and over 1,500 Common Terns made their home at Nickerson Beach.  American Oystercatcher on nest 26b

Nickerson Beach also hosts New York's largest colony of Black Skimmers, a species of special concern, due to the limited number of successful breeding colonies. With over 1,000 adults in this year's colony, staff continued its annual effort to band chicks and adults with field-readable unique alphanumeric codes to track migration patters, site fidelity, life span, and productivity.  A Citizen Science Project was also funded through the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District calling for birding enthusiasts and wildlife photographers to submit photos and observations of Black Skimmer to Conservation and Waterways staff, adding even more information to our robust data set from a new and powerful source. 

We look forward to receiving reports throughout the fall and winter from our cooperators and citizen scientists along the east coast of our banded Oystercatchers, Terns, and Skimmers! If you are interested in learning more about shorebirds, or would like to contribute to our Department's efforts next season as a volunteer/citizen scientist, sign up to be on our Volunteer list!