Today I followed Ranger Tony where few are allowed. The endangered Piping Plovers and other shorebirds nest on the dunes off Ft. Tilden, a beach closed to the public after Superstorm Sandy demolished the peninsula. Tresspassers ignore signs as they walk dogs and ride vehicles through nesting areas, probably not realizing the harm they are doing to these senstive birds. Tony pointed out abandoned nests that were very inconspicuous in the sand. The shallowly scratched out holes in the sand, and their ever faint footprints leading to them were potentailly easy to step on. Any vechicle could easliy run over a nest. Even the egg shells were spotted and barely visible. Then there's the peculiar behavior of the parents that are incubating eggs. They see intruders long before they approach the nest and leave it. They seem to try to divert your attention from the nest by changing their posture as they scoot around and even pretend to have a broken wing. This confusion tactic also works as they chase their chicks and fledgling around the beach once they've left the nest. It certainly worked on me.
I learned how easily distracted theses birds can get and is extremely important to give them their space.